Aug 2018 NW Evening Mail

Little George Butler was just four-and-half-months-old when pneumococcal meningitis took hold.

The bacterial type of meningitis, which affects the brain and spine, caused the baby to have a mild seizure at home. George's terrified mum, Bethan Butler, rushed him by car to A&E at Furness General Hospital, in Barrow, where she has praised the medics who saved his life and the team who supported the family George was heavily sedated and transferred to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital to be treated on the intensive care ward. He spent 11 days at Manchester under sedation. Two days after being woken he was transferred back to Barrow's FGH on the children's ward, where he spent a further week in hospital. He was also treated for a blood clot.

Following the ordeal in July last year, it was discovered that George had been left profoundly deaf by the meningitis and he would go on to have cochlear implant surgery to allow him to hear again.

Now George is 16-months-old and doing well. Mrs Butler said she is "eternally grateful" to the medics who saved his life. Despite his setbacks with his hearing, he has started to talk. His family live on a small farm and George loves the tractors, and 'tractor' was his first word just a few weeks ago.

George's family is wanting to warn others about some of the early signs of meningitis in children as there is not always a rash present, as was the case with George. They want to encourage others to look at the Meningitis Now charity's early signs of meningitis and septicaemia in babies and toddlers chart (see chart below and further details are available at The charity and the Butler's say 'trust your instincts - get medical help immediately.’

meningitis signs

Two days before being rushed to A&E, George was treated for a throat and ear infection, but his condition deteriorated. Mrs Butler said it was the "worst time of their lives" for herself and husband, Robert, both 27. She said: "George became so, so poorly. There was no rash, but he had been grunting, which can be a sign. "When were at home his eyes started to flicker, like a small seizure. He was unresponsive. I just put him in the car and rushed him to A&E. We were so worried about him. The youngster had been vaccinated against meningitis, but it turned out that he had a rare strain which was not vaccinated for, but that may change after research. "We would say to other parents, please do not just think you are looking for a rash with meningitis, look for the early symptoms and get medical help."

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They are based in Western Australia and supported by Senses Australia.

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Vision Statement: “For all young people who are deaf to reach their potential in life.”

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