Baby girl dies of meningitis at Grimsby hospital and second case is suspected
THE family of a little girl "with a smile that could brighten anyone's day" have appealed for all parents to be on their guard, after she died of meningitis – with no sign of a rash until it was too late.
Eight-month-old "mummy's girl" Lexus-Rose died in the care of the staff at Grimsby's Diana, Princess Of Wales Hospital on Friday, after contracting suspected meningococcal septicaemia.
And today, the Grimsby Telegraph has learned that another child who has suspected meningitis – thought to be 10 months old – is also being treated at the hospital.
However, Dr Autilia Newton, unit director and consultant in communicable disease control at North Yorkshire and the Humber Health Protection Unit, said it was not believed the two cases were linked.
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She said: "The death of a child is always tragic and our deepest sympathies are with the family concerned.
"It's important to stress that it is very uncommon to see other linked cases. The infection does not pass easily from person to person."
However, she said that as more cases of meningitis are seen in the winter months, it was important to "stay alert to the signs and symptoms of the disease and take immediate action if infection is suspected".
Read about the signs and symptoms of meningitis here.
Lexus-Rose's devastated parents, Sita Yull and Jimmy Macdougal (Hall), of Winchester Avenue, Nunsthorpe, said the most frightening thing had been the speed with which the disease had robbed them of their precious daughter.
Just 24 hours before, she had been playing happily.
The first sign there was something wrong came when she developed a slight temperature – but it fell when they treated her with Calpol.
Later she also had some sickness and diarrhoea, which the couple attributed to a stomach bug Sita had suffered earlier in the week, as, otherwise, she appeared to be fine.
But, when they went to check on her at 12.50am, she was very pale and had what looked like small bruises under her eyes – and they called an ambulance.
By the time they arrived at hospital 20 minutes later, the rash had covered her body.
Despite the best efforts of the "amazing" paramedics and hospital staff, Lexus-Rose passed away before she could be transferred to a specialist unit in Leeds. Doctors said there was nothing anyone could have done.
Today the couple, who also have three boys – Kade, 7, Billy, 6, and Bobby, 2 – are appealing for other parents to get their children to a doctor, no matter how innocuous their symptoms, as you "just never know".
Sita said: "If anyone had told me before to be on guard for meningitis I would have looked for a rash but, in Lexus-Rose's case, there wasn't one.
"Even if your child just has a temperature, get them checked out."
The couple said they also wanted to thank all the hospital staff and paramedics, Pam French at St Andrew's Children's Hospice – where Lexus-Rose is resting until her funeral – and the generosity of their family, friends and neighbours.
Sita said: "Everyone is coming together to help us give Lexus-Rose the best send-off we can and to help us raise as much as we can for the hospice.
"We wanted to give her two white horses and a carriage, but that alone is going to cost £1,200 – and we haven't had the final bill for the rest of the funeral yet.
"We also want to raise as much money as we can for St Andrew's Children's Hospice. We can't praise them enough and I don't think we would be able to cope as well as we have been if it hadn't been for the staff there – particularly Pam. We're so grateful.
"We'd also like to thank everyone who's helped us. We have had people just coming to the door and saying they want to help. We've been given £2,000 so far from people living in Nunsthorpe."
On Friday, all are invited to attend a special fundraiser for Lexus-Rose – organised by Jimmy's brother Daniel Macdougal – which will be held at the Nunsthorpe Tavern from 7.30pm.
There be a raffle arranged by Hayley and Holly Jenson, with prizes ranging from driving lessons to a consultation with a spiritualist, and Daniel, their friend Harry Drakes and others will be undergoing a sponsored wax.
Sita said: "We're so grateful to everyone for their help. Everyone has been absolutely amazing.
"We just hope that we can stop any other families going through what we have."
Lexus-Rose's funeral will be held on Wednesday, from 1pm at Grimsby Crematorium. All mourners are asked to wear something pink.
Further advice and information about meningitis is available by contacting NHS Direct, the 24-hour NHS Helpline on 0845 4647 or www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk, or the Meningitis Trust helpline on 0808 80 10 388.
Keep checking your Grimsby Telegraph for an indepth feature on meningitis, its symptoms and advice.