A baby dies of meningitis in just 14 hours

When Lizzie and Matthew Allen from a town in Shropshire, England, became parents of a little girl, they were over the moon. It had been a long journey for the couple, who welcomed Fleur-Rose into the world only after having not one, not two, but sixteen miscarriages. Their 2014 ‘miracle baby’ was born prematurely but ultimately in good health.

Nothing encroached on their happiness until one fateful day in April of 2016.

Fleur-Rose was just 15 months old when she woke up one night crying, with a burning fever. Ever the excellent caretaker, Lizzie administered a fever-reducing painkiller and gave her something to drink. But the fever continued to rise, now going over 102 degrees. Her parents called for an ambulance, which took Fleur-Rose to the ER at dawn. A CAT scan showed nothing of significance, but then something strange happened. As her parents tried to feed her mashed potatoes, the skin on her neck broke out in a pink rash.

They called quickly for a nurse but by the time one arrived, the blotch had disappeared. Weird. At 5:30 pm, the doctors took a water sample. The waiting was unbearable. Then the diagnosis arrived: Fleur-Rose had meningitis, which is fatal if it’s not cured within a few hours. At 6 pm, the child had her first stroke. Her little heart would stop three more times, until finally at 11:04 pm their worst nightmare came true. Fleur-Rose was declared dead. 

Her parents were in shock. The last 14 hours had changed their lives forever. But rather than dwelling in their sadness, they did something absolutely amazing.

Lizzie launched an information campaign about meningitis. Amazingly, her call has been heard. She has raised more than $15,000 in her daughter’s name for the foundation Meningitis Now. This mother wants other parents to know how to recognize the symptoms. As she said, “People always look for the rash, but her rash didn’t develop until later. I think every child who is admitted to hospital with similar symptoms should automatically have a meningitis check.”

Fleur-Rose's story is tragic and beautiful at the same time. A miracle baby for her parents, snatched away by meningitis after only 15 months. But the Allens turned their immense sadness into a love of life, for the sake of other children everywhere. Her death has no doubt already saved other children. Her parents were determined that Fleur-Rose won't have died in vain.

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