Meningitis in your words

Keane Smith Thornton's story

  • Location: Ireland
  • Categories: Pneumococcal
  • Age: Young child 3-5
  • Relationship: Child
  • Outcome: Bereavement
Keane Smith Thornton

We had our beautiful son Keane on January 22nd 1998, he loved life and always full of chat to everyone he met.

He started school September 2002 and just loved it. He was a healthy lil fella one or two chest/ear infections but I didn't think anything of them doctor said it's normal especially starting school.

On March 31st our day was like any other Keane was fine all day, later that evening I checked on him and he was sitting on the floor beside his bed and said he had a headache, he had a high temp so we gave him calpol but it didn't seem to bring it down we rang the doc on call and I explained his symptoms he told me to give him more calpol and cool him down with a damp cloth.

That Morning of April 1st (my birthday) he was so quiet and looked worse we brought him to the doctor and they told us to go to emergency department in the hospital, as I was giving his details they took him from me and examined him they gave him plenty of medication but nothing worked and he was too weak for a lumbar puncture, they told us they thought it was Meningitis and ran more tests, I was thinking whatever happens it will be ok and we'll cope...little did we know it would not be ok...they had sedated him but after 12 hrs he hadn't woke up, we knew it wasn't good by then ,although the hospital were great and kept theirs and my family's hopes up I felt he had already passed.

" I'm still shocked how quick meningitis can act"

The paediatrician confirmed he had contracted pneumococcal meningitis and there was no brain activity they did regular brain activity tests and we could see for ourselves it was machines keeping him alive. We asked was there anything we could have done, he said no that it had attacked so fast and they tried everything they could for him. We spoke about organ donation and decided on donating his kidneys, after that procedure they turned the machine off and brought him back into the room to us so we could sit with him and say goodbye. That was the Thursday I'm still shocked how quick meningitis can act and with no rash whatsoever only high temperature and pain in his head.

That was nearly 15yrs ago now and it's great to see more awareness around the disease and more vaccines available let's hope there will be less and less stories of grief and living with after affects of Meningitis. I hope to start being more active with the meningitis charities and raise more awareness and funds 💜💜

Joanne Thornton
October 2017