Meningitis in your words

Dylan McNeil's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Pneumococcal
  • Age: Toddler 1-3
  • Relationship: Child
  • Outcome: Bereavement
Dylan McNeil

My son was always full of life. A very big daddy's boy, he loved to play outdoors, in our family's ski boat, and pretend to waterski. He was known for his beautiful smile to all who knew him, and stopped many strangers with his love to say hi to everyone, he truly loved all people. 

One Tuesday this past May 2009 he started to not feel so well, a low grade fever. He had had three rounds of pneumonia this past winter, and diagnosed with asthma, so, of course, our main concern was his breathing. 

By morning on Wednesday, the fever was lower and he was his usual full of energy self. Come Thursday afternoon, his fever returned, this time higher. 

Sabrina tells: "He had no appetite, but this wasn't unusual for him, a very light eater anyway. We called the on-call nurse - she informed us to watch and wait. We all assumed it was the flu."

By morning he started to throw-up. When we took him into the doctor's office that friday morning, he was able to keep down two popcicles, and his fever was down, yet again. Still, the doctor said he looks sicker then we'd like, and decided to do blood work and admit him to the local paediatric unit. After arriving, they proceeded with IV antibiotics and fluids. The blood test showed a bacterial infection somewhere. They tested him for a urinary infection. 

"As we were awaiting the results, Dylan began to seizure in his left arm and cheek",- says his mother.

The doctors then suspected meningitis, and proceeded to do a spinal. Shortly after the procedure, Dylan stopped breathing, and his heart rate dropped. They took him to PICU, and then he was flown to Doernbacher Children's Hospital, an hour's flight time away. I flew with him. 

As we arrived, the attending doctor said he had suffered severe brain trauma, and there was nothing more they could do. On Wednesday May 13, we did an apnea breathing test, and nuclear blood flow test, he was declared brain dead and pronounced at that moment. We removed the ventilator and he died in my arms, one day before his second birthday, from pneumococcal meningitis.

Sabrina McNeil
June 2009