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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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Carlisle parents' anguish after baby son's meningitis death

A Carlisle couple have spoken of their heartache and grief after their baby son died of meningococcal septicaemia.

Amanda Byers and Karl Mosgrove phtoo
Amanda Byers and Karl Mosgrove with a photo of Alfie

Amanda Byers and her partner Karl Mosgrove lost five-month-old Alfie Jay Mosgrove to the deadly bug. Little Alfie was suffering from a strain of the meningococcal infection which is not yet preventable by vaccination.

He died hours after being admitted to hospital with medics having to ask Amanda to come and say goodbye to her baby son.

Amanda and Karl have opened their hearts to the News & Star to try to raise awareness of the disease.

Amanda, 35, of Currock, said: “We’re devastated to have lost Alfie.

“It all happened so quickly. He’d never been ill and was a really happy baby.”

Alfie became ill on December 11 but Amanda and Karl didn’t know what was wrong with him so they sought medical advice.

Karl, 37, said: “Alfie was juddering a bit and his temperature was slightly high but within the normal range.

“Amanda called CueDoc and they thought he had a virus.”

Amanda said: “They told me to give him plenty of fluids and to give him some Calpol. I described what he was like but he wasn’t off his food. He wasn’t sick and he didn’t have diarrhoea but he just wasn’t himself. He wasn’t happy.”

Amanda put Alfie to bed as normal and kept a close watch through the night.

She said: “I was awake most of the night as I was really worried. At 5am on December 12 he woke up and wanted his bottle. I gave it to him and I checked his temperature. It was okay. We both went back to sleep after that and between 7am and 8am I woke up.

“I went to change Alfie’s nappy because he had started with diarrhoea. He made a strange whimpering noise and when I looked at him he was just covered in these big blotches.”

Amanda grabbed Alfie out of his cot and called 999. She said: “I rang 999 and told them my baby had meningitis. They asked how I knew this but I just knew. His face and his body was covered in big, purple blotches.

“They asked if I had done the glass test but I didn’t need to – he was covered.

“The paramedics were really quick. They were at my house before I’d even changed his nappy.”

The ambulance took Alfie to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle where they gave him antibiotics.

Amanda said: “They had to put holes in his bones to get the fluids in.

“I rang Karl and my mum Sheila and they both came to the hospital. The medical staff said he was a very poorly child.”

The couple waited in A&E as medics worked on their son.

Karl said: “They had to give him CPR so they could stabilise him. They needed to do this before they could transfer him to Newcastle because they have more equipment in the hospital than they do in the back of the ambulance.

“We had to sign a disclosure form in case anything happened to him in the ambulance.”

Alfie, who was 5lb 13oz when he was born, was rushed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

Amanda said: “They put us in the parents room and gave us a cup of tea. I’d just been to the bathroom when the nurse came in looking for me. She said I’d better come and say bye bye to my little boy.

“I was so upset. I wanted them to carry on giving him CPR but he was gone. I collapsed on the floor. His little body couldn’t fight anymore as his veins were like sponges and he was very bloated.”

Karl said: “He died of a rare strain – strep B bacterial septicaemia – but there is no vaccine for it. He didn’t really have any of the main symptoms.”

Amanda said: “If he had survived he wouldn’t have been the same Alfie. He would have been in and out of hospital all his life. He would have been severely brain damaged and he may have lost some, if not all, of his limbs.

“Alfie didn’t have all the symptoms but our advice is just get medical help as soon as you can.”

Karl added: “Every minute counts. If you are concerned or worried take them straight to A&E.”

Alfie’s grandma, Sheila Wilson, of Warnell Drive, Harraby, said: “I would never want anyone to go through what we have had this last month. It’s been awful.”

A funeral service for Alfie was held on December 20. He was cremated and his ashes buried in the Babies Memorial Garden at the Richardson Street cemetery.

The family have been in touch with the Meningitis Research Foundation and are hoping to raise funds for the charity in the future.

Meningitis and septicaemia kill more UK children under the age of five than any other infectious disease, with babies in the first year of life most vulnerable.

The Meningitis Research Foundation now has a new campaign called Counting the Cost of Meningitis. This shows the shocking lifelong financial costs of surviving meningitis and septicaemia and is calling on the Government to pursue the widest and earliest implementation of a vaccine.

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