Mother's meningitis diary reveals how her healthy daughter was ravaged by the illness in just four hours
Erica would have died if she hadn't called out for a glass of water in the night she fell illDoctors tell her parents she had been just three hours from death
01:47 GMT, 23 August 2012
At 7.30pm, Michelle Scoffings put her three-year-old daughter to bed with a slight temperature.
Just before midnight, Erica woke up and asked for a drink. If she hadn’t, she would not be alive today.
Mrs Scoffings noticed the little girl’s temperature had soared and there were purple blotches all over her body.
Michael and Michelle Scoffings with their daughter Erica who is recovering from meningitis
Erica at 5am on January 29th, five hours after they got to hospital (left) The purple marks quickly spread (right)
She and her husband Michael
immediately performed one of the key tests for meningitis – pressing a
clear glass against the skin to see if the rash fades under pressure.
It did not, so the couple from Chesterfield bundled Erica into the family car and drove her straight to hospital.
Doctors diagnosed meningococcal septicaemia and said she might have only three hours to live.
Both of her legs went black and she
was placed in intensive care with bandaged limbs and drips keeping her
alive. Amazingly she pulled through, and is now firmly on the road to
recovery after months of hospital treatment.
Mrs Scoffings kept a remarkable photo
diary of her daughter’s brush with death and has made it public to raise
awareness of how quickly meningitis can take hold.
Erica on February 20. Fortunately doctors were able to save her legs
Recovery: Erica on February 24th (left). She is now re-learning how to walk (right)
It was in January that Erica
complained of feeling poorly and her mother put it down to a stomach
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Erica, 3, was just three hours from death after she contracted meningitis
'There were so many doctors
and medical staff in the room at the hospital. I was in shock but
surrounded by my family.
‘Erica was screaming and I felt
helpless. I just had to sit there and watch and as a parent that is the
worst thing that can happen.’
Later that night Erica was transferred
from Chesterfield Royal Hospital to the intensive care unit at
Sheffield Children’s Hospital.Her legs went black as the septicaemia ate
away at her flesh, exposing the bone.
‘We expected her to just go on to a
drip but we didn’t expect her to go into intensive care,’ said Mrs
Scoffings. ‘It was the septicaemia which made it so much worse. It was
‘Erica was screaming all the time. I was a mess when the surgeon said she might have to have both legs amputated.
‘That was a last resort but it was definitely a possibility. Both her legs and her right hand were completely black.’
Erica was transferred to a specialist
burns unit as the effect on her limbs was similar to severe burns, and
she underwent skin grafts. Amputation was prevented by ‘vacuum therapy’,
which encouraged the tissue to cover the bone.
Mrs Scoffings added: ‘The NHS have been fantastic. They told us everything that was happening.
‘Erica is so bubbly and intelligent.
She kept saying, “One day I will walk again, Mummy” and we stayed really
positive throughout the whole situation.
‘She understands that she has been
poorly but she has her appetite back now. She is a bit unsteady on her
feet and will need splints to walk properly.’
Erica spent two weeks in hospital and
has since returned three times for skin graft operations. But less than
eight months after being struck down by the illness, she is due to start
nursery next month.
‘If it wasn’t for the glass test then
we wouldn’t have known what was wrong,’ said her mother.
‘I don’t know
what would have happened if she hadn’t called out for a drink that