Killer ill­ness – we’re here to help says fund

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Front Page - BY OLIVER CLAY oliver.clay@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @Oliv­erClayRWWN

AMENINGITIS char­ity is of­fer­ing sup­port to any­one af­fected by the con­di­tion and re­lated ill­nesses fol­low­ing the tragic death of a Run­corn tod­dler from a meningo­coc­cal disease.

Menin­gi­tis Re­search Foundation (MRF) said it was keen to help af­ter it learned that Al­fie Coxon, two, of Grange­way, had died in April.

The Weekly News re­ported last week that the tot was killed by meningo­coc­cal sep­sis de­spite hav­ing been di­ag­nosed as hav­ing an ear in­fec­tion when he vis­ited Hal­ton Gen­eral Hospi­tal with his mum Vicky South­ern ear­lier that same day on April 14.

His dev­as­tated mother told how he was given an­tibi­otics and re­leased home de­spite hav­ing key meningo­coc­cal symp­toms of high temperature, a sore neck and cold hands and feet.

She rushed him to War­ring­ton’s A&E unit that evening as he was de­vel­op­ing a rash but doc­tors were un­able to save him.

War­ring­ton And Hal­ton Hos­pi­tals NHS Foundation Trust said the cause of death on his death cer­tifi­cate is meningo­coc­cal sep­sis, which is caused by the same bac­te­ria as menin­gi­tis.

Vicky be­lieves he may have had menin­gi­tis also. ● It also of­fered its con­do­lences. The MRF has praised Vicky for shar­ing her ex­pe­ri­ence.

Rob Daw­son, MRF’s di­rec­tor of sup­port, said: “We are deeply sad­dened to learn about Al­fie who lost his life to meningo­coc­cal sep­sis.

“Our thoughts and con­do­lences go out to his fam­ily and we are here for them if they would like any sup­port.

“Vac­cines are the best way to pre­vent some types of menin­gi­tis and sep­ti­caemia (sep­sis).

“How­ever, there are not yet vac­cines avail­able to pre­vent all forms of the disease so it is vi­tal that peo­ple are aware of the symp­toms.

“It’s in­cred­i­bly brave of Al­fie’s mum Vicky to share her story pub­licly.

“Early symp­toms are usu­ally fever, vom­it­ing, headache and feel- ing un­well.

“Limb pain, pale skin, and cold hands and feet of­ten appear ear­lier than the rash, neck stiff­ness, dis­like of bright lights and confusion.

“Menin­gi­tis and sep­ti­caemia can de­velop sud­denly.

“If some­one is un­well with menin­gi­tis or sep­ti­caemia their symp­toms will be­come rapidly worse.”

Mr Daw­son added: “MRF makes sure that no­body has to face menin­gi­tis and sep­ti­caemia alone.

“Whether you are liv­ing with the af­ter-effects of the dis­eases or cop­ing with the death of a loved one, we are here for you.

“We have many years’ ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing with peo­ple who are deal­ing with menin­gi­tis and sep­ti­caemia.

“We are trained and ex­pe­ri­enced in un­der­stand­ing be­reave­ment as a re­sult of menin­gi­tis and sep­ti­caemia.’’

He con­tin­ued: “We un­der­stand grief af­fects ev­ery­one dif­fer­ently but we know that talk­ing about your feel­ings and emo­tions will help.

“One third of peo­ple who sur­vive menin­gi­tis and sep­ti­caemia will be left with af­ter-effects, some as se­ri­ous as brain dam­age, am­pu­ta­tions, blind­ness or hear­ing loss.

“Any­one with ques­tions about menin­gi­tis and sep­ti­caemia, or who might need some sup­port, can get in touch with MRF’s free helpline and sup­port team on 0808 800 3344, or helpline@menin­gi­tis.org”

Al­fie Coxon and his mum Vicky South­ern

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