Meningitis in your words

Harley Ujvari's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Escherichia coli (E. Coli)
  • Age: Baby 0-1
  • Relationship: Parent
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Sight problems
Harley Ujvari

This story is about my son Harley who contracted E-coli septicaemia twice, once in December 2011 and second time in February 2012.

My son was induced early on December 6th due to medical reasons; he was born at a surprising 7lb 3oz and appeared to be healthy other than jaundice. He came home at two days old and he started losing a lot of his birth weight and was very difficult to wake for his feeds. I started to get concerned but when I expressed my concerns with my midwife I was told he was fine and to just try little and often.

By five days old he had lost 10% of his birth weight and I started panicking, but midwife still insisted he was fine.

"He was very weak, breathing badly, extremely mottled and cold"

At six days old he had lost even more weight, he was also sniffly and his eyes kept rolling back for a few seconds. I took him to see our family GP who insisted he was fine and I was sent home. The night went by and Harley didn’t wake for any of his feeds and I began to panic. I rang midwife in the morning and she rushed over and he was weighed and had lost just over 12% of his birth weight. She rang the doctors demanding a second opinion.

We made it to GP and he was admitted instantly.

When we got to the hospital Harley was very weak and breathing badly, extremely mottled and cold. The nurses told me they thought he had pneumonia and we were waiting for a consultant. While waiting I was asked to get a urine sample from him and once I got it and gave it over the nurses took it for testing and within a minute two consultants rushed in , took bloods and put a cannula in. All of this happened within minutes and I asked the consultant what was wrong. He told me Harley had bugs in his urine and they suspected he had a blood infection. I asked him if Harley would be OK and he told me that babies’ immune systems are very weak and they were doing the best they could. The next day they performed a lumbar puncture and chest x-ray and the day after they took him for a kidney and bladder ultrasound.

During Harley’s hospital stay on an IV he struggled to maintain a healthy temperature and was on hourly observations for the first five days. He continued to lose weight and slept 95% of time. After about six days on IV he started to come together and was gaining weight again. He was properly discharged from hospital on the January 1st after a total of 12 days on IV.

He took a while to recover and he had sight problems noticed at seven weeks old and he was in and out for tests and paediatric appointments to check development.

On the 11th February Harley attended a paediatric appointment and he was well and happy, and I was told he was recovering incredibly well. But sadly the next day Harley became very sleepy and I kept a close eye on him but he continued to remain in a sleepy state. I put him to bed and he slept from 6-9pm. I went to wake him for a bottle and he was very very sleepy and his skin was grey and he refused his milk.

I rang the doctors and they told me to bring him in straight away. He was admitted instantly again and this time Harley was taken off me the second we made it to the hospital. He was rushed into the treatment room and half an hour later I was allowed to come in and they had put a cannula in again and told me they were treating him for septicaemia again.

The same night Harley developed a rash and it spread through his body within seconds and he became very lifeless. Two days later doctors performed another lumbar puncture but Harley only had positive blood cultures and we waited for him to come round. Harley spent a total of seven days in hospital.

Since then we have had a lot of good and bad days with Harley and his sight has improved. He has had three hearing tests which have shown no hearing damage. The doctors don’t know what effects development wise  Harley will have for now ,and we are still taking that one day at a time.

Charlotte Ujvari
April 2012

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