Toddler given clean bill of health

TODAY three-year-old Ryan Clover looks the picture of health, but this time last year he was just hours away from death when he was struck down by meningitis.

TODAY three-year-old Ryan Clover looks the picture of health, but this time last year he was just hours away from death when he was struck down by meningitis.

Now, 12 months after his ordeal, Ryan's family want to say a big thank you to the health workers who have helped him through, and warn other parents to be alert for signs of the deadly bug.

Ryan's mum, Lisa Lynch, said: “He has made a full recovery without any complications, but if it wasn't for our GP picking up on things so quickly I think it could have been a completely different story.”

The family's ordeal began at the beginning of February last year when Ryan became ill with what Miss Lynch first thought was a cold.

After about a week she noticed spots on his body and took him to their GP at the Norwich Road surgery.

When his condition deteriorated rapidly he was given a life-saving injection at the surgery before being rushed to Ipswich Hospital.

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Miss Lynch said: “Ryan spent three days in there and then had to go back every day for the next ten days to be checked over and receive his antibiotics.”

While he is now fully recovered Ryan was very ill for several weeks and the infection took its toll on his young body.

Miss Lynch, 31, of Bramford Road, said: “On the whole, he has made a remarkable recovery but for a long while afterwards he looked pale and got tired very easily.

“It has taken quite a while to resolve itself but the doctors said that's normal after such a major infection.

“The doctors said it might have slowed down his development a bit and I think it probably did but he's now starting to catch up.

“It definitely knocked his diet a bit, he just didn't want to eat for weeks and lost quite a lot of weight.

“He's back to normal now though and we can't stop him eating!”

His illness has meant that over the course of the last year Ryan has become a familiar face at the Norwich Road Surgery, and the family have nothing but praise for their GP Dr Susan Smith and the nursing staff at the practice.

Miss Lynch said: “We've had to visit a lot over the last few months and everyone there has been wonderful. I just want to say a big thank you to them all for their support.”

Has your GP helped to save your life? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

WEBLINK www.meningitis.org

Denise Edwins, nurse practitioner at the Norwich Road surgery, said anyone who is concerned their child may be showing signs of meningitis should get them to a doctor immediately.

She said: “The first signs are things like a fever and feeling generally groggy and unwell, which are similar to a number of much less serious illnesses.

“The important thing is to be alert and, if you feel your child is acting out of character, to make sure you seek medical advice.

“If it's caught early the treatment can be as simple as a course of antibiotics.”

She urged people not to panic as the condition is relatively rare.

She said: “I have been a practice nurse since 1985 and Ryan's was the first case I have come across.”

Meningitis is the inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord. Septicaemia is the blood-poisoning form of the disease.

The two most common types are meningitis B and meningitis C.

A vaccine for meningitis C was introduced in 1999 but there is still no vaccine for meningitis B.

Symptoms of meningitis include: severe headache, vomiting, dislike of bright lights, shivering, a stiff neck, drowsiness and/or a rash.

The tumbler test: If a glass tumbler is pressed firmly against a septicaemia rash the marks will not fade. You will be able to see the marks through the glass. If this happens, get medical help immediately.

SOURCE: Meningitis Research Foundation.

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