Meningitis in your words

Leo David Wells's story

  • Location: Northern Ireland
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Toddler 1-3
  • Relationship: Parent
  • Outcome: Bereavement
Leo David Wells

Leo and I attended an Easter party on Tuesday 23 March at mums and tots and we had a great day. He played with his cousins till late afternoon but at around 4.30pm he complained of a sore stomach and had a slight temperature. 

His temperature hit 38 so we took him to the emergency doctor who gave him penicillin and diagnosed tonsillitis. At this stage Leo's temperature was 39.... 

"I stripped him down and sponged him with cool water",- says Leo's mother.

I took him up to bed with me at 11.05pm. He woke at 3am asking for water; I gave him a drink then saw a shadow on his torso so I turned on the light and saw the rash. I have never seen anything like it and I knew straight away it was meningitis.

We rang 999 and the ambulance crew thought it could be an allergic reaction, but two miles into the journey they put the boot down as Leo started to go unconscious. 

Craigavon Hospital managed to bring him round with drips and fluid and he asked for a purple Fruit Shoot and his favourite Spiderman sweeties. He talked a bit to the doctors before they put him in a drug induced coma. It was then confirmed to be meningococcal septicaemia. 

At 10am he was transferred to the Royal Victoria for Sick Children PICU. He started to breathe against the machines so they paralsyed him early evening of the 24th. 

At midnight he bit down on a suction tube in his mouth which the nurse said showed how strong he was. He was also receiving medication to try and save his limbs. 

We stayed in a parents’ room that night and we got the knock at 3am – Leo had crashed for the first time. The second time he crashed his pupils were fixed and dilated and the consultant told us that the Leo we knew was gone...

Both sets of grandparents arrived at 5.45am and Leo was placed onto my knee with his Dad at his side, where he fell asleep for the last time at 5.55am. 

All the doctors and nurses and staff involved in Leo's care were unbelievable.... it all happened so fast, not much more than 24 hours. He was such a brave little boy and he fought right to the end.

Lana Wells
June 2010