Brooke Beynon had just turned one when she developed Meningococcal Septicaemia B – a life threatening form of Meningitis. Parents Emma and David first noticed that Brooke wasn’t well one evening when they put her to bed. Brooke was restless during the night so when she slept later than usual that morning, her parents assumed that she was catching up on some much needed sleep from the night before.
But when Emma went to check on her, Brooke was pale and unresponsive and, on checking her baby over, Emma noticed two small marks on her legs which didn’t disappear when pressed.
David says: “Emma started screaming at me from upstairs telling me to call an ambulance and I just panicked. My heart was in my mouth the whole time I was speaking to the emergency services and I’m surprised I was even making any sense. I’m so grateful that they arrived as quickly as they did though because even in the small time it took for them to get here, the rash had spread to cover Brooke’s whole body.”
After being given a shot of antibiotics which Emma and David think probably saved her life, Brooke was rushed to paediatric A and E where she was stabilised and given tests and medication before being admitted on to the critical care unit at the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales. It was then that Emma was given the diagnosis and told that her baby had a 50:50 chance of survival.
Emma says: “Seeing your baby being wired up to tubes and injected with all kinds of things and then being told that she might die was without doubt the most terrifying experience of my life. Brooke slept for four days but during that time the care we both had was incredible. I didn’t leave her side or stop asking questions but the medical team told me everything I needed to know and the nursing staff took such care of Brooke – washing her and combing her hair while she slept.”
On her fifth day in critical care, Brooke woke up but was very weak. Having been transferred on to Island Ward, the play specialists took her to the play room to help build up her strength and re-engage her with the world. Emma says it was lovely to see Brooke smile and play again after everything she had been through.
Brooke made big leaps forward from that point on and was discharged home after a week, but her family say they’ll never forget the care she received at the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales.