When little Zoe Morgan started burning up unusually one day, her grandparents could have just put it down to a mild fever.
But at just 10 months old Zoe’s body was being ravaged by meningococcal septicaemia which eventually forced doctors to amputate her finger tips as blood poisoning reached her extremities.
The youngster, now aged four and starting school, is finally on the road to recovery but it was her grandmother Linda Lee’s quick-thinking which probably saved her life.
Zoe had been struck down with the deadly brain bug meningitis, which kills 300 people every year, and Linda, who was looking after the tot while mum Julia was at work, rushed her straight to hospital.
She is now urging others to trust their instincts if faced with a similar situation.
“I took her temperature and it read 39.7 and immediately alarm bells started to ring. I gave her medicine and then took her straight to hospital,” she said.
“Something inside me told me not to put Zoe to bed and to act quicklyand thankfully I trusted my instincts as when we were in hospital a couple of little spots started to appear on her body.
“At the hospital the doctor said he was going to monitor the situation for a while but I urged him to go ahead and test her straight away.
“She quickly deteriorated and at one point we nearly lost her – it was touch and go. Three months later she was still recovering in hospital.
“She’s such a little fighter and she’s so precious to me – we are so, so lucky to still have her. My words of advice to parents and to grandparents are to trust your instincts and always keep a thermometer in the house.”
After Zoe’s illness her family decided to support Meningitis UK. The charity’s aim is to find vaccines to eradicate all forms of meningitis and associated diseases.
They raised £3,000 shortly after Zoe’s illness and more recently 59-year-old Linda, from Sutton Farm, joined forces with her friends, Jan Childs and twin sisters Linda Jones and Sue Hall, to perform ABBA’s Dancing Queen at a birthday party.
They also sold Meningitis UK wristbands and collected a further £364.80. Steve Dayman, chief executive of Meningitis UK, who lost his son Spencer to meningitis, said: “We are extremely
grateful to Linda and her friends for their fantastic fundraising efforts – it looked like they had fun performing Dancing Queen and the money will be put towards life-saving research.
“What happened to Zoe when she was a baby highlights the importance of trusting your instincts and acting quickly.”
Although meningitis can occur at any time of the year, the number of bacterial meningitis cases tend to rise during the winter months. and people are being urged to be aware of the symptoms.
For more information about Meningitis UK or to donate call 0117 947 63 20 or visit www.meningitisuk.org
By David Seadon