GRIEVING mum Amy Bevis is urging parents to look for signs of meningitis after her son died from the disease – at just 19 days old.
William Fraser was born last November at his home, weighing a healthy 8lb 8oz.
But within days he had become poorly and wasn’t feeding well.
Worried Amy – a health care support worker – called her midwife and then her doctor for help, but the disease wasn’t spotted.
When William’s health failed to improve, she took him to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, where tests revealed he had pneumococcal meningitis – an aggressive form of the brain bug.
Amy, 28, said: ‘He was becoming very irritable.
‘His breathing had become quite rapid and he had peculiar eye movement.’
She added: ‘It broke my heart, but at least we knew what it was.
‘My brother had meningitis when he was 10 months old and survived so I thought William would be alright.
‘But then he started having seizures and doctors told us he had lost the use of his limbs and might not be able to hear.’
William was moved to Southampton General Hospital where the family made the decision to switch off his ventilator.
William was brought home where he eventually died on November 21, at 19 days old.
Now Amy and partner Richard Fraser, 25, of Weybridge Close, Sarisbury Green, are backing charity Meningitis UK’s ‘trust your instincts’ winter awareness campaign, which urges parents to be aware of early signs.
Amy said: ‘I felt like saying “somebody please listen to me”. I’ve got two other children and knew something wasn’t right. If you’re worried take yourself or your child to the hospital if you fear meningitis. The doctor would rather send away a mother and child knowing they are okay than risk a mother going home with the most devastating news.’
Charity advises on what signs to look out for
MENINGITIS is caused by viruses and bacteria.
Infection causes membranes protecting the brain and spinal cord to become inflamed. This risk is increased in winter when immune systems are weaker, meaning viruses can circulate more.
Charity Meningitis UK has issued the following guidance about signs of the disease.
· Symptoms include headaches, stiff neck, dislike of bright lights, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, confusion and drowsiness.
· Early signs of meningitis can be confused with a common cold, but with a rash appearing later.
· Signs to look out for in babies and young children include high-pitched crying, dislike of being handled, blotchy, pale or blue skin, a bulging soft spot on the baby’s head and poor feeding.
For more information call 0117 947 6320 or visit meningitisuk.org.