A mum-of-two told yesterday (Thur) how she saved her baby boy from losing his limbs after spotting he had contracted meningitis by acting on her motherly instinct.
Leah Edge, 23, took little Arlee Heath to a walk-in centre when he appeared “hot and clammy” last month.
She was convinced something was seriously wrong with the three-month-old despite him showing none of the usual symptoms of meningitis and having no rash.
Doctors at the walk-in centre sent Arlee to the Royal Stoke University Hospital where tests confirmed he had contracted meningitis.
Within hours the tot was facing a fight for his life as his fingers and toes started turning purple.
But doctors told quick-thinking Leah the spread of the virus had been caught before Arlee was at risk of losing any limbs.
The tot stayed in hospital for over a week and is now part of the way through three weeks of treatment.
He will also need regular check-ups to see how the meningitis may have affected him in the long term.
Leah, who lives in Abbey Hulton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., is now warning other parents to act quickly if they fear their child is suffering from the potentially killer bug.
The sales assistant said Arlee woke up as normal on July 14 but was shaking by midday and then had a temperature later in the day.
Leah, who also has another son Ashton-Lee, four, with partner Ashley Heath, 25, added: “When we got home later in the day I took him out of his pram and he was red hot.
“I thought he had a temperature so I gave him some Calpol.
“Two hours later he still had a temperature so I took him into the walk-in centre in Hanley, they took his temperature and it was 41C.
“He is normally such a happy little boy and I just knew inside me that something serious was wrong with him.
“I was devastated to find out it was meningitis. I didn’t believe it at first, I asked the surgeon if he was going to die.
“It’s amazing he didn’t lose limbs. When I was told he had meningitis, it did go through my mind about him possibly having to lose them but we caught it early.
“I just want people to be aware, you don’t have to see the rash for it to be meningitis.
“It’s scary because parents will wait for a rash to appear for them to be worried about meningitis.
“I personally think the antibiotics straight away saved his life.
“The doctors said if I hadn’t acted as quickly as I did then it could have been a lot more serious because the meningitis would’ve spread.
“The hospital staff reacted really quickly and did everything they could straight away, I can’t thank them enough.”
Leah was initially told baby Arlee was suffering from a water infection and he was given antibiotics at hospital.
But doctors carried out a lumbar puncture to take fluid from his spine when his temperature continued to rise and his fingers and toes turned purple.
Test results revealed the tot was suffering from meningitis along with septicaemia and he will have to go back to hospital so medics can make sure he is free from the bug.
Arlee’s grandmother Lisa Dalgarno, 42, is also calling on parents to follow their instinct if they believe their child is seriously ill.
The special needs welfare practitioner said: “It is terrifying because there were no classic signs of meningitis, it was just a temperature and how common is that?
“Thanks to Leah’s motherly instinct she took Arlee to the walk-in centre. Parents should go with their instincts.
“I’m so proud of Leah, she’s an amazing mum.”
Claire Donovan, helpline manager at Meningitis Now, said it can be difficult to diagnose meningitis in the early stages.
She added: “Parents should be aware of all signs and symptoms, don’t wait for a rash before you seek medical attention if you suspect meningitis.”