|Lydia beat Meningitis but lost her legs
to the infection
Three-year-old Lydia should be getting
herself ready for playschool, instead due to a tragic set of circumstances
she is recovering from having both legs amputated below the knee.
Lydia is a typical three-year-old girl, excited about
a playschool sports day, except for this little girl just walking is a
She has had to adapt to using prosthetic limbs after
both of her legs were surgically removed in December 2003 and her family
are left asking how it could happen.
Late one Friday night in 2003 Lydia became ill with a temperature of 105
degrees. This was the day that her family's lives changed forever.
Seeing their child so ill, Lydia's parents Tony and
Jodie took her to their local doctor that weekend.
"She was hallucinating and believed that spiders were crawling over
her skin," remembered Tony.
Tony and Jodie tried to get help for their daughter|
She was seen by doctors from the "out of hours"
GP service and sent home, only to return on Sunday after there was no
The second GP diagnosed an ear infection and Lydia was
again sent home, this time with antibiotics.
By Monday Lydia's health was rapidly deteriorating so
her mother Jodie rang the health centre once again, this time asking for
a doctor to visit her daughter at home.
The practice stated that they didn't offer this service,
although a doctor did talk to Jodie on the phone and said he felt it was
Life threatening condition
Lydia was now so ill that her parents rushed her to the
health centre in spite of the diagnosis.
When the doctors saw her they immediately admitted her
to hospital, her condition was life threatening.
Meningitis is the inflammation of
the membranes around the brain and spinal cord
The disease is caused by a bacterial
or viral infection
Viral Meningitis is the most common
form of the disease in the UK and is usually less severe than the
Bacterial Meningitis can be life threatening
and is caused by a range of different bacteria
There are vaccines available to prevent
certain strains of Meningitis but not every form of the disease
Around 10 to 25% of the population
are carriers of the meningococcal bacteria
Source: The Meningitis
Tony commented, "They said if they had rated it
(her illness) out of 10, it was a 10. She couldn't have got any more ill."
Lydia was diagnosed with Meningitis.
Her little body overwhelmed by the infection, Lydia
suffered full organ failure and was put on drugs to keep her lungs, heart
and kidneys functioning.
Not one to give up easily, Lydia survived the initial
trauma but her legs were left so badly damaged that she had to have them
amputated just below the knee during a three-hour operation.
Life goes on
Two months on and Lydia is recovering remarkably well
and Inside Out joined the family on a very special day.
After weeks of fundraising, from parachute jumps to coffee
mornings, family and friends have helped raise the £5,500 needed
to get Lydia a pair of prosthetic legs.
As the little girl learns to walk again, her family
are left asking whether all this would have been prevented had Lydia been
|Lydia has learnt
to walk again with her prosthetic legs|
A couple of weeks later Lydia returned to playschool
with her new legs and even joined in at a sports day.
However, life will certainly never be the same for Lydia
and her family, who have gone through a life changing experience together.
It is Lydia's strength and courage that keeps her parents
going. Although proud of their daughter's resilience, Jodie and Tony can't
help but worry about the future ahead.
They have started to fight for compensation to help pay
for Lydia's legs and are still awaiting the verdict of an inquiry into
her care at Chippenham Hospital.
The Day I Cried - by Health Correspondent Matthew Hill
It was just another news day in December. I had
a tip off that a three-year-old girl was about to have her legs
amputated because she had flu. Lydia's parents Tony and Jodie agreed
for me to come and see them at the hospital.
As soon as I arrived I realised that this was not flu but a form
of meningitis that sounds like flu, Haemophilus Influenzae. Here
was a three year old girl, the same age as my youngest, in extreme
pain pointing to her bandaged feet. By this stage septicemia had
set in and amputation was imminent.
It was already fairly late in the day but
talking it through with Tony and Jodie I realised that there had
been a very long delay in getting Lydia into hospital. For three
days continuously they had taken their daughter to see a variety
of GPs complaining of a frighteningly high temperature, hallucination
What struck me the most about Tony and Jodie was their determination
to find out what may have gone wrong. It seems incredible that,
facing this horrendous operation, they were prepared to talk about
it publicly. I was also struck that, mercifully, Lydia didn't fully
appreciate what was about to happen to her. If she had been any
older it would have been even more cruel.
The saddest moment was seeing Tony pick up his little girl and take
her to the anesthetic bed where she was to be sedated. I felt I
had to keep a smile on my face throughout this but her experience
affected me profoundly - with tears as I drove back.