Handbridge mum's warning over meningitis signs


Jennifer Meierhans

THE mother of a baby girl who nearly died of meningitis is urging parents be aware of unusual symptoms.

Sarah Stables, 40, acted fast to save her daughter’s life and wants to help other parents do the same.

She has spoken out about “the worst time of her life” following Meningitis Awareness Week.

Three-week-old Erin did not display common signs of the disease but within hours it was touch and go whether she would survive.

“We knew something wasn’t right,” said Ms Stables of Appleyards Lane, Handbridge.

“We had to wake her up and she wasn’t feeding.

“She was making a snoring noise and she had her head back in her dad’s arms and she went very pale.

“We rang an ambulance and it all happened very quickly after that,” she added.

She and Erin’s father, James Ray, went with her to Accident and Emergency at the Countess of Chester Hospital, where Ms Stables is a theatre nurse. “We ended up in resuscitation trying to get lines into her. They had to drill into her bones to get fluid into her because all her veins had shut down,” said Ms Stables.

“They had to ventilate her so we were transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. “The next thing we were told it was meningitis. It leaves you cold. It’s the worst thing in the world.

“We had a while where it was touch and go. It was the worst time of our lives.”

The distraught parents stayed at Ronald McDonald House family accommodation at Alder Hey for two-and-a-half weeks while little Erin battled her illness.

Thankfully Erin, who is now nearly two, made a full recovery but suffers a visual impairment as an effect of the disease.

“For a while we thought she couldn’t see anything but she’s made real strides in progress since,” said Ms Stables. “She can see enough to run around now.”

As a member of the Meningitis Research Foundation, Ms Stables wants to help other parents to save their children’s lives.

She said: “Erin had no rash and symptoms such as a stiff neck and aversion to bright lights are difficult to spot in such a young baby. I would tell parents to be vigilant and trust your instincts. We felt something wasn’t right.

“They should get help early if they are concerned as time is the key.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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