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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Cumbrian baby recovers from four bouts of meningitis in his first seven months

A couple are looking forward to their first Christmas with their baby son – after he survived an incredible FOUR bouts of meningitis in his first seven months.

Meningitis baby photo
Julie Goodwin with son Connor, husband Craig and son Taylor

Doctors are at a loss to explain why Connor Goodwin has contracted the bug so many times – and are equally baffled that he has been able to recover every time.

In October, his proud parents Julie, 38, and Craig, 34, from Egremont, were finally told that 10-month-old Connor was clear of the life-threatening brain bug.

Along with their parents, and Connor’s brother Taylor, eight, they now intend to enjoy a family Christmas – and plan a huge celebration so they can thank family and friends who have supported them through their ordeal, as well as the medics whose expert care saved Connor’s life.

Connor was born at Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital in January, 13 weeks early, weighing just 1lb 14oz, his body racked by jaundice and two different infections.

Within hours, he was rushed to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough for specialist care. “It was terrifying,” recalled Julie, who was warned that some babies born so early are too unwell to survive.

But Connor showed the fighting spirit that was to prove so vital in his first 10 months of life. Julie said: “He did really well. They let him off the ventilator after a couple of days and he began breathing by himself.”

At first, it seemed that Connor was on the road to recovery, but on February 18, he was stricken by his first bout of meningitis. “It was every parent’s worst nightmare,” explained Julie.

With expert care, Connor somehow fought off the infection – but just a month later, as he was still regaining his strength, he contracted meningitis again. Julie said: “We were terrified, and the doctors warned us that in getting it a second time he was at an even higher risk of suffering brain damage as well as deafness and blindness and a whole range of other side effects.”Connor was on a ventilator for six days but again he fought off the infection. Though still only tiny, weighing a little over 5lb, he remained well for two months. Then in June, he contracted meningitis a third time, and his parents were told that this time he was unlikely to survive.

“We were absolutely devastated,” said Julie. “We just couldn’t believe that it had happened again.”

Against the odds, Connor again pulled through – but the relief for his parents was to be only short lived. On July 31, Julie and Craig were told he had contracted the disease for the fourth time. Julie said: “We were absolutely stunned. The consultant was as shocked as we were.”

Against all expectation, Connor again fought off the disease. In October, after months spent in hospital, medical tests confirmed Connor was finally free of the bug. Julie said their young son, now weighing over a stone, had passed hearing and sight tests with flying colours and is now eating proper food.

“He’s been through so much but he just gets on with it,” she said. “He’s our little fighter. We’re going to my mum and dad’s for Christmas Day for a nice family Christmas – and then we’re going to have a huge party to say thank you to all our friends and family.

“Our consultant and all the nurses and other staff at the two hospitals have been absolutely fantastic. We can’t thank them enough or stress enough just how good they’ve been.”

She also paid tribute to Taylor, who has been staying with her parents, adding: “We’re really proud of him. He didn’t have much family life for a long time but he got on with things and now finally we’re together as a family.”

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