A MUM has hailed her ‘little fighter’ who, despite having both legs amputated below the knee, has won a deadly battle with meningitis.
Seven-month-old Louie Jenkins has finally been able to return to his Colne home after nine and a half weeks in a specialist hospital.
He also lost all of the fingers in his left hand and the tips of his fingers on the right hand.
His parents Julie, 29 and Warren, 31, said it was feared he would not survive but have now spoken of their delight to have him home from hospital.
And they have also pledged to fundraise and highlight the warning signs of the disease.
Julie, a teaching assistant, said: “Louis has been a real little fighter and we are overjoyed that he has pulled through.
“It was extremely frightening when it was confirmed that he had meningitis. It is something that you hear about in the news but don’t ever expect your child to get.
“We are so lucky that Louis has come though this and doesn't have any brain damage.
"Even though it is upsetting that he has had the amputations we are so relieved that our gorgeous little boy is alive and that we now have him back home."
She said that despite his amputations Louie is a very happy baby.
She said: “Although he found it hard not been able to have the cuddles at first when he had all the tubes and wires in him, he has been really happy and it doesn’t seemed to have bothered him.”
She said it became apparent in the hospital that he would need to undergo amputations.
Julie said: “It became apparent after he started to recover that he would probably need his legs amputated as they had turned black from the thigh down and his arms were too.
“Although it was hard for me and Warren to get our heads around at first, the main thing was that we just wanted to be able to take Louis home.
“As time went on his legs and arms started healing and the doctors said they would be able to just amputate below the knee and they wouldn’t need to remove his entire left arm – it was the best outcome they could have hoped for.”
Now his parents are determined to raise funds and awareness of the disease.
Louis was allowed home last week after spending nine and a half weeks in Leeds General Infirmary after being taken there from Airedale General Hospital in January.
Julie, of Bath Street, Colne, said that initially it was touch and go if he would survive.
She said that doctors praised her quick reaction spotting the first warning signs and that if she had left it any longer he may have died.
“I had bathed Louie with his sister Francesca as normal but throughout the night he kept waking up crying and was sick, I noticed he had a temperature so stripped him down and gave him some Calpol.
“It was when I stripped him down that I noticed two small red pin prick marks. I pressed on them and they didn’t go away so thought something was wrong.
“Within a matter of minutes he had gone grey and floppy so I rung for an ambulance.
“As I was watching he went from having a few marks to all his legs and arms turning purple.
“They took him to Airedale and treated him for meningitis, it was all a bit of a shock and it didn’t really hit home until we had the results of the blood test which confirmed that he had meningococcal septicaemia”
Louis was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary where he was kept in intensive care for two weeks then put onto the children’s surgical ward.
She added: “The doctors said that if I hadn’t checked on him and spotted the rash when I did that Louis probably would have died.
“The first 48 hours were touch and go and after that they gave him a 50 per cent chance of survival which gradually increased as the days went on.”
Julie and Warren have arranged for a fundraising event called ‘the big chocolate tea party’ on Saturday, April 28, at Foulridge Village Hall where they will be selling tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits to raise money for Meningitis Trust, The Sick Children's Trust and Ward 48 at Leeds General Infirmary.
There will also be a raffle; anyone wishing to donate prizes can contact Julie on Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org. The event will run from 10.30am until 2pm.
She said: “Even though I had heard of meningitis and the signs of it I never knew what happened after you got it.
“We want to try and raise awareness of the serious long term effects that it can have including brain damage and amputation.”