Meningitis in your words

Layla Marie Burns's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Baby 0-1
  • Relationship: Parent
  • Outcome: Full recovery
Layla Marie Burns

Layla was always a great feeder but she woke up one morning and never took all her feed, which I noticed was strange but didn't think anything of it. She also had a very sore cry which stopped when I nursed her.

Layla was then put into mummy's bed for a wee snooze with me as I thought she had a cold. On wakening up approximately 40 minutes later I lifted her and noticed she was hot and limp. Usually she is brilliant with holding her head up but it just flopped back as did her head. I knew something wasn't right and called the doctors whom I couldn't get through to so I decided just to go down.

"If we had waited until 5 o'clock Layla would have been dead"

On arriving at the doctors Layla got worse – she was unresponsive and really hot. I went to the desk and asked to see a doctor and explained the symptoms. The receptionist told me I would have to wait on a doctor to call me for an emergency appointment which could take up until 5 o'clock (it was only 12.30).

Me and Layla's dad were not happy and drove to Yorkhill Children's Hospital in Glasgow. On arrival Layla was taken in and had a temp of 40.8 and her heart rate was at 226. By 2pm after all the tests Layla was on oxygen, fluids, antibiotics and was fighting for her life. We were told it was touch and go for a while and they were waiting to see if she pulled through.

As time went past Layla got stronger and stronger. She is now laughing and smiling away at me as I write this. Looking at Layla now we can't believe she was fighting for her life a few days ago. Docs say we should be home for the end of next week and have an appointment a few weeks after to check Layla has no long term effects. All people in close contact with her have been treated.

I would urge anyone who has any doubts about their child to go straight to A&E. The doctors at our local health centre did not act as they should have; we were told when we mentioned going to the health centre that if we had waited til 5 o'clock Layla would have been dead. It does not bear thinking about that our baby could have been gone. I will be taking the matter with the health centre higher.

Meningitis is a killer. Look out for signs as it can develop very rapidly, as it did with Layla. Thank you for reading Layla's experience with this illness.

Coleen MacDonald
July 2012