A worried mum has recalled the horrifying moment her toddler teetered on the edge of death after falling extremely ill while enjoying Easter with his family.
Teddie was his usual “happy, mischievous” self as he enjoyed an Easter egg hunt at his grandparent’s home on Good Friday, his mum Zoe Stewart told Yahoo News Australia this week.
Gallivanting around with his siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, the family had no idea what heartbreak lay ahead for the 17-month-old and his parents, who live in Burnley, UK.
“The next day — we call it sweetie Saturday — we all got together as a family to watch telly and eat sweets. We had decided to let Teddie stay up to join us. He absolutely loved it…was full of smiles,” Ms Stewart said.
“Then in the early hours of the morning…we now look back and realise that was when the nightmare was about to begin.”
Ms Stewart said she woke to Teddie crying around 4am and found him sick in bed. She scooped him up and put him in her bed to keep an eye on him.
“I then woke up about 9.30am and he was still sleepy, which I thought was unusual for Teddie. He seemed a little lethargic, so I thought he must be getting a cold,” she said.
After giving him some medicine, Ms Stewart said she noticed the toddler had a “light, pale pink mark” on his forehead.
However, just two hours later, the mum said she was shocked to discover Teddie’s stomach was also now covered in the same pink markings, prompting her to call emergency services for help.
“After an hour I noticed one of the markings on his neck resembled that of a bruise.”
Ms Stewart said she rang emergency services again and was told an ambulance was on the way.
“As soon as they arrived, they acted quickly and that was the first moment we heard the word meningitis.”
'Felt we were in a nightmare'
Teddie was given antibiotics in the ambulance and rushed to Blackburn Hospital.
It was then “things turned into mayhem,” his worried mum said, describing the scene as a sea of doctors and nurses swarming around her boy.
“We were told we may want to look away as they are going to have to do things to Teddie and as there isn’t time, it will be without pain relief, so they continued to drill into both his shin bones to be able to give him what he needed fast,” Ms Stewart said.
“Teddie was bleeding from his nose and mouth. We felt we were in a nightmare.”
Doctors diagnosed Teddie with bacterial meningitis and septicaemia and transferred him to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
“We were told what all parents never want to hear, that we needed to understand there was a chance Teddie may not make it as he has a life-threatening infection.”
Toddler to lose fingers and toes
The 17-month-old has now spent more than two weeks in the children’s ICU and was taken off life support eight days ago, much to the relief of his stressed parents.
He is now breathing for himself but is still being fed mainly through a tube and has suffered some slight brain damage.
“We will not know how that will affect him down the line,” his mum said, adding that his finger tips and toes on the right side of his body will likely have to be amputated because of poor blood flow.
“They were restricted of blood supply while his body was trying to concentrate on keeping him alive, and focusing on his vital organs which means it does look like he will lose these, which we have been told will be life-changing for Teddie.”
The toddler is yet to undergo several more procedures, but Ms Stewart said she is “thanking god every day” for her son’s miraculous recovery.
She said doctors were not able to provide an explanation as to how or why Teddie fell ill with bacterial meningitis.
“People should be very aware of it,” the mum warned other parents.
“For Teddie, it’s just one of those really sad, unfortunate events that just happen.”
To help support the toddler’s family as they remain by his bedside and unable to work, Ms Stewart’s brother Nathan has created a GoFundMe page to help them financially.
“If you see this please share it if only to raise awareness of this awful illness and just how fast things can progress,” he said on the website.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.