Toddler beating meningitis that took his feet and fingers with smiles and giggles
12:21 GMT, 28 March 2012
A seven-month-old boy is still smiling and giggling, despite losing his feet and fingers of one hand to a devastating bout of meningitis.
Louie Jenkins suddenly developed the deadly disease in January this year.
Now two months on his parents say they have been inspired by his brave battle against the potentially fatal illness.
Louie Jenkins is always smiling despite losing his feet to meningitis two months ago
Mother Julie, 29, a teaching assistant from Colne, Lancashire said: 'Louis has been a real little fighter and despite what happened 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.
'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. We are so lucky that Louis has come though this and doesn’t have any brain damage.
'There’s still a long road ahead with physio and he has to have his bandages changed twice a week, but he just smiles through it as if nothing has happened.'
Julie and Louie's father Warren, 31,
have released a shocking picture of the tot fighting for life in hospital to
encourage parents to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis.
Warning: Louie's parents released pictures of him suffering from meningitis to encourage other parents to be aware of the symptoms of the deadly disease
Louie first fell ill on January 6 with a runny nose, sickness and diarrhoea and developed a temperature and when Julie spotted a tell tale rash on his chest she immediately called an ambulance.
But by the time Louie got to hospital he got to Airedale General Hospital he had gone grey and floppy and when blood tests confirmed he had meningococcal septicaemia his distraught parents were warned that he might die.
Louie’s limbs began turning black as the infection took hold of his tiny body, and the couple made the heartbreaking decision to allow doctors to amputate in a bid to save his life.
Julie said: 'I broke down at this point. I said that my baby boy couldn’t die. I couldn’t really tell that moment that it was as critical as it was – it was a waiting game.'
'I said it didn’t matter if he didn’t have any legs, he’s still going to be our Louie. He had to have a brain scan to check for brain damage too, but thankfully he had brain waves so we knew that was ok.
'They did a scan on his kidneys and liver and they were also ok. Then he started to breathe himself. It could have been far worse – we could have lost him.
'He picked up quite quickly – within the hour of the operation he was awake and a bit groggy. The next day he woke up and was smiling as if nothing had happened. We thought that he was going to be in pain but he seemed ok.
'It was really hard not to be able to pick him up because you had to be careful not to knock out the tubes.'
Louie was discharged from hospital earlier this month after nine weeks of treatment.
Relief: Although Louie lost his legs the disease didn't affect his brain
According to Meningitis UK, one in 10
victims of bacterial meningitis and septicaemia will die, and one in
seven of those who survive will be left with permanent disability such
as loss of limbs, blindness, deafness and brain damage.
Julie and Warren, a welder, now want to warn other parents of the lasting effects that meningitis has as well as the symptoms and are fundraising for further research into the illness.
Julie said: 'You always hear about the symptoms of meningitis but you never hear about what can happen afterwards, such as brain damage and amputation.
'It’s not just about the rash – I had no knowledge that you could come back from hospital with a child with no legs, brain damage or kidney damage.
'I have always known about meningitis through my job but you have no one telling you about the after effects of it.
'The doctors said that if I hadn’t noticed the spots then he might not be here today. As an adult you know your own body but kids can’t always tell you what’s wrong with them.
'I’m giving up work and I’m going to care for Louie full time now. At the moment he has his dressings changed two times a week and he still has a tube in his nose for an extra feed.'
For more information about Meningitis visit www.meningitis-trust.org