Belfast Telegraph

My baby was grey and listless...thank goodness for the quick-thinking hospital nurse who spotted meningitis

Getting better: Emma McKibbin with son Josh
Getting better: Emma McKibbin with son Josh
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A Lisburn mum has said she will be forever grateful to the nurse who spotted that her baby son had contracted bacterial pneumococcal meningitis.

Emma McKibbin's 10-month-old son Josh is still recovering from the disease almost two months after his shock diagnosis.

Emma (32) and her husband Andrew (30) are also parents to Ryan (10), Jake (six) and two-year-old Amber.

Josh was born on June 12 last year and from birth he suffered with various illnesses and infections including life-threatening sepsis.

But in late February, Emma realised something was not right with her youngest child.

"Josh was sleeping in and he was listless, floppy, moaning and had a high temperature - just not himself," she said.

Emma called her GP and later that same day when Josh hadn't got any better, she took him to A&E at Lagan Valley Hospital.

"He was starting to turn grey and just seemed to be deteriorating by the second," she explained.

From there Josh was admitted to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

Emma, who is full of praise for the amazing team at the hospital, recalled the chance encounter, while they were waiting to be seen, which may have saved her baby son's life.

"We were on our way to triage when a nurse walked past and eyeballed Josh," she said.

"She asked what was wrong with him as he was such a horrible colour and was shaking."

Within two minutes, Josh was moved to a side room, his blood was taken and a paediatrician was on their way to see him.

Twenty minutes later antibiotics had already been started as a precautionary measure when the word meningitis started being "thrown about".

It wasn't long before Josh was on his way for a lumbar puncture.

"I was in denial," said Emma. "They had explained the difference between bacterial and viral meningitis, but I still kept thinking it was going to be viral.

"A couple of hours later it was confirmed that it was bacterial even though he had no rash."

Josh was kept in hospital for just under four weeks and had three MRI scans to monitor the fluid on his brain.

Emma is fundraising for Meningitis Now to help give something back to the charity that had helped her through Josh's illness by completing their Marathon Month Challenge to complete 26.2 miles in one month.

You can make a donation at Emma's JustGiving page:

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