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Joy for little Bethany

PUBLISHED: 05:30 17 August 2002 | UPDATED: 12:28 03 March 2010

LITTLE Bethany Parker is living proof not every meningitis story ends in tears.

For the little tot is now approaching her first birthday - a celebration mum Michelle thought she might never see.

LITTLE Bethany Parker is living proof not every meningitis story ends in tears.

For the little tot is now approaching her first birthday – a celebration mum Michelle thought she might never see.

Bethany was only five months old when Michelle saw the skin rash every parent dreads. But she was lucky – it was only a pre-bedtime check that saved her baby's life.

Michelle, 19, of Landseer Road, Ipswich, said: "She had been grizzly all week, but we just put it down to teething.

"I just looked in on her before I went to bed and I noticed her dummy had come out and was stuck behind her ear.

"When I went to move it I saw she was covered in orange sick. I took her downstairs and phoned Riverside Clinic and it was then I noticed the rash on her belly."

If Michelle had any doubts what the rash showed, the clinic certainly didn't. Bethany was rushed straight to Ipswich Hospital where an emergency team was waiting.

Michelle said: "It was terrible to see her in hospital, she had two drips in her feet and another one in her hand. She was lifeless, just like a rag-doll."

An agonising six days followed where Michelle maintained a near 24-hour vigil in hospital supported by Bethany's dad James and gran Theresa Moran.

But if those were the dark days, then now it is a case of happy families in the home gran, mum, dad and Bethany share.

And preparations for what will be a very special first birthday are hotting up.

Gran Theresa said: "It will be a great day with all the friends and family round."

Mum Michelle is also looking forward the celebrations, which will be all the sweeter in the knowledge that the dreadful disease is well behind her daughter.

She said: "A specialist examined her the other day and said if he didn't know she'd had it he would have thought there was nothing wrong.

"Her hearing is fine, she's starting to speak and she's advanced for her age. She got the all-clear in July.

And for parents who find themselves in a similar potentially deadly position, Michelle has some simple advice: "Don't hesitate. If you're worried just ring the doctor straight away."

Weblink

www.meningitis.org

Fact File

n Meningitis can develop very quickly – it is vital you contact the doctor as soon as the symptoms are spotted.

n Symptoms of meningitis – and the closely related meningococcal septicaemia – include a rash, fever or vomiting, cold hands and feet, rapid breathing, stomach/joint/muscle pain, drowsiness or losing consciousness, severe headache, stiff neck and a dislike of bright lights.

n To check a meningitis rash press a glass against it. If the rash is visible through the glass seek medical attention immediately.

n Most people carry meningitis bacteria at some time in their life, but there is a very small chance it will develop into the disease.

n There is no vaccine for the most common B strain of the disease. Vaccines for hib meningitis and C strain have reduced them significantly.

n Meningitis bacteria is very weak and does not survive long outside the body. You must be in very close contact to catch it from some else.

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