Every SECOND counts. If you suspect meningitis, GET MEDICAL HELP IMMEDIATELY. Call or see your doctor / Call an ambulance / Get to a hospital.

Lesley's Story (for David Jnr)

David Jnr was only 14 months old when he contracted pneumococcal meningitis. After being rushed to hospital and put into an induced coma due to the seriousness of his condition, his young parents had to make the terrible decision when to turn his life support off. This is David Jnr's story, as told by his mother Lesley. 

In April 1990, I took my 14-month-old son David to the doctor. The doctor told us he had the flu and to take him home and give him paracetamol, keep him hydrated and bring him back in a week. He seemed to get better and, when we went back to the doctor, he was given a clean bill of health. 

However the next morning when I woke up to check on him, David had dry blood around his mouth. When I looked in his mouth, I was shocked to see he had ground his teeth down to the gums. I immediately rang a family member to come and get us and take us to the hospital. When we got there, the nurses were putting needles and drips into him but not saying anything to me. I was just standing there crying. 

David was put into an induced coma and taken to the ICU. A few hours later a doctor came and told me David had meningitis. I had never heard of it and had no idea how serious it was. He had been having seizures during the night which was why he had ground his teeth. I stayed the night at the hospital with David. 

At 8am a nurse asked me to contact David's father and tell him to come to the hospital. It was then we were told David was brain dead and being kept alive on life support. We needed to decide what time we should turn life support off and if we wanted to donate his organs. At the time, David's father was 20 and I was 18 and five months pregnant, and we were faced with having to make this terrible decision. David's father ran out of the room and I later found out he had gone to the hospital chapel. I went to call my sister and then went to hold my son. 

David passed away in my arms at 12pm on the 23rd of April 1990.


Disclaimer - The Meningitis Foundation Aotearoa New Zealand promotes the prevention, control and awareness of meningitis. It is not a professional medical authority. The text on this website provides general information about meningitis and septicaemia, not medical advice. It is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of these diseases. Please consult your doctor to discuss the information or if you are concerned someone may be ill.

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