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meningitis & septicaemia can kill in hours!

People who are faced with meningitis and septicaemia have to act fast to help save a life.

Kaylyn Palmer

Meningococcal disease at 3 at time of writing

Meningococcal disease

Kaylyn had a wonderful time swimming in June 2009 with her mum and big sister. I spoke with her before she left for the pool and I headed to work.

Whilst swimming she became unwell with what you could say was like flu symptoms. Samantha, her mum, brought her home and we got an out of hours GP appointment. We were told she had a viral infection and should take her home and give her plenty fluids and Calpol. We took the GP’s advice and went home. The next day I headed for work. Kaylyn wasn’t any better, in fact she appeared to be deteriorating and becoming weaker.

Her mum tried on several times to get another GP appointment, but was refused as we had seen the GP the evening before and already had a diagnosis. Her mum also felt like an over anxious mother, as did I.

Kaylyn’s grandmother had popped in to see how she was when her mum noticed spots which seemed to appear every time she blinked her eyes, and Kaylyn became very limp and cold. They rushed her to the GP and on arrival the doctor said he thought she had contracted meningitis and gave her antibiotics. An ambulance was called and she was rushed to hospital.

I could have died when I saw her – there was my wee girl, weak, unresponsive and every organ in her body was beginning to fail. We had a seven hour wait in A&E until she was stable enough to travel by ambulance to a special children’s hospital. She was so sick she required a few doctors with her and all the machinery. She spent four days on life support and responded after a day or so to the medication she was given.

My daughter, after four days fighting for her life, survived this deadly disease. It was the longest four days of my life – we never left her side, nor did her grandparents.

She will be four next month (February 2012) and going to school in August. She has had no lasting effects from the disease as it was caught very quickly, however it could have been a very different story if her mum and nana not acted so quickly, refused to stay put and not attended the GP appointment. I would advise anyone who finds themselves sitting on the fence wondering ‘should I call the GP?’ or thinking ‘I will wait and see how things progress’ to seek advice – you don’t want to be sitting saying ‘I knew I should have’.

STEVEN PALMER
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