Two-year-old meningitis survivor walks
Across the world thousands of children get infected each year with meningitis. This is a story of a two-year-old girl who managed to survive the terrible infection and lived to walk the tale.
Two-year-old Alissa Taylor will never know what it is like to stand on her own two feet, literally. Little Alissa lost both of her legs to meningitis last year. She just turned one and had not even learnt to walk when the infection was discovered.
Alissa’s parents, Manuel Chowdury, 25, and Samantha Taylor, 23, told Daily Mail UK that their little princess fell ill on the evening of her first birthday party. Mr Chowdhury said: ‘she wasn’t herself after the party, but we thought she was just tired. We knew there was chickenpox going around and we thought that she may be coming down with that.’
‘She was tired and miserable and the next morning she woke up covered in spots. But when we put a glass tumbler to them they just disappeared, so we thought that it was chickenpox.’
But then Mr Chowdhury’s mother noticed one spot amongst the rest that looked different.
She put a glass to that one spot and it didn’t disappear. So the family immediately rang for an ambulance which took Alissa to the Princess Royal Hospital in Farnborough. Within an hour of arriving, Alissa was covered in purplish spots and blood tests showed she had the most serious form of meningitis, meningococcal meningitis with septicaemia.
Mr Chowdhury said: ‘we were horrified when the doctors told us what it was. It was such a good job that Samantha’s mother had noticed that one spot that looked different; otherwise it may have been too late.’
Alissa was then transferred to St Thomas’s hospital in London where doctors put her into an induced coma to give her the best possible chance of survival. She hung on, but doctors told her devastated parents that they didn’t know whether she would survive. Mr Chowdhury said: ‘we thought we were going to lose her. But she refused to give up. She hung on and after a few days was still in the coma. But the doctors told us that there was a problem with the blood flow around her body. Her hands and feet turned black.’
Alissa managed to survive, but doctors told her parents that they would have to amputate both of her legs, most of her right hand and part of her left hand too. Four weeks after developing the bug, Alissa had her limbs amputated. She stayed in the hospital for another two months to recover. Mr Chowdhury said, ‘it was a shock when doctors told us they would have to amputate, but we were just so grateful that Alissa was alive.’
The doctors fitted her with prosthetic limbs and they even put little wooden feet on the ends for her as they were so touched by her. Now at age two, she has taken her first steps on the prosthetics. Her survival and bravery astounded everyone including doctors. Alissa has since been given the all-clear from brain damage and doctors expect her to adapt well to her new legs.
Meningitis is the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms and can be life threatening. Septicaemia is the blood poisoning caused by the same germs that lead to meningitis. According to the Meningitis Research Foundation, children under five are more vulnerable to the infection. Here are some ways of figuring out if your sick child has been infected:
Sources/photo credits: Daily Mail UK, Meningitis Research Foundation
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