Meningitis Now
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My beautiful baby duke , taken too soon!

My beautiful baby duke , taken too soon!

On the 1st March 2015 my 5 month old little boy duke sadly passed away in my arms after fighting meningicoccal septicimia type B for 16 hours.

Duke was fine the day before he was his usual happy self gurgling away , we did are normal day to day stuff and up until about tea time where he started to seem wingey , i wasn't concerned as he was his happy self despite being wingey.

Around 9.40pm i suddenly noticed a rash all over his body and called an ambulance , they rushed him to hospital with his dad as I had my little girl at home too , mark then phoned me around 10 minutes later saying the doctors want you here it's not good. I went into complete panick. I arrived and in the early hours of Sunday myself , mark and duke were transferred to manchesters Intensive care unit.

It was a total nightmare coming true , I couldn't believe how something could take over his body so fast.

He was hooked up to all sorts and was covered in this rash he was purple , I couldn't leave his side.

I wasn't keeping track of time by this point so I can't remember what time it was.

A few hours went by and then it all took a turn for the worst and he went into cardiac arrest. All in all duke had 5 cardiac arrests the 4th one being over 30 minutes long , so if he did have any chance of survival he would have been 100% brain damaged which is heartbreaking.

Around early tea time , his heart rate was slowly dropping and there wasn't much more they could do to help as they tried everything so they asked me if I agreed to stop. I froze dropping to the floor , I couldn't stand up .. the nurses placed duke onto me where I cuddled him and he slowly slipped away.

Not a minute goes by where I don't think of my perfect baby boy duke.

I kick myself thinking why didn't I notice anything was wrong but he seemed himself and the rash stroke upon him so fast.

6 Replies

Hi Rebecca, words fail me to sympathise with what you and your family have been through. I have 3 boys and like all parents, not a day passes that I stop worrying about every knock, bruise, scar and rash they get, but to walk the road you have done with baby Duke is more than any parent should have to bear.

It can often seem the easiest thing to blame one's self and I think it's evolutionary engrained into us as parents to do so to a large extent, but I don't see what you and your husband could've done to catch things any faster. 16 hours is moving like lightning and no amount of prior knowledge can realistically combat that speed. You did what every parent would do and this does not lie at your door.

Each step on your journey must seem so hard at the moment and I won't belittle the pain you suffer with glib words of the future. I know we collectively mourn for your loss and I send my personal heart felt wishes to you and your family and hope one day you can hold onto the beauty of the life you held so preciously with a clean heart. Our friends at Meningitis Now will be able to offer your assistance I'm sure and support on that journey, and I trust this forum can likewise. I know it takes profound strength to open up as you have and re-live your time with Duke through this narrative, and I'm sure it has taken many people's breath away. It has mine.

With my deepest sympathy and respect to you, those you love and those who love you, and to baby Duke who will be with you always, and now also with us. Thank you for letting us share this with you, as best we can. Justin X

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Your last 16 hours with beautiful handsome baby Duke is so distressing sad to read but so devastatingly distressing for you, Dukes Dad and sister to have gone through. I am so very very sorry that you lost your happy gurgling boy to the nasty meningococcal septicaemia. It is known that BM can take a life within hours and most people don't know that until they find themselves in such a situation as happened to Duke. But you mustn't torture yourself with thoughts of self blame because in the early stages it presents with similar symptoms of a flu type illness. even Drs overlook it until the more obvious symptoms start to develop, like the distinctive rash and by then then meningococcal meningitis has already gone too far and is affecting the organs in the body for many to recover from. That's why it is so important that organisations like Meningitis Now have been fund raising tirelessly for money for research that has led to the development of a vaccination to stop so many babies and children losing their lives like your precious Duke. I can understand your angry, frustration and rage that this has not been introduced soon enough to have protected your darling Duke. The reason I have explained this is because I hope it will help you accept that there was nothing more you could have done for Duke as as soon as realized things were worse than the initially seemed you did everything a loving mother would do in calling 111.

My thoughts are with you, Dukes Dad and sister at this desperately awful time. I am wondering how old your little girl is as to how you explain to her and she understands as to what has happened. Best wishes x


I am so sorry to hear of your loss .. its heartbreaking to read you cant blame yourself you really cant..I pray God's love over you all through such a hard time...Thank you for sharing your story with us... This is a wonderful forum to try and find some meaning into what happened and know there are so many who will be thinking and praying for you and your family...xxxxx


My heart goes out to you, what you have had to endure no parent should ever have to face.

I was an adult victim of bacterial meningitis and septicaemia 9 years ago and as a result I lost both legs below the knee, my wife and children had to endure 10 days of heartache as I was on life support, even though I am the one left with the disability I believe what my family had to endure was mush worse.

No words can compensate for your loss but treasure the times you had and remember him as the happy little chap that he was.

Make use of the services available from Meningitis Now who are an excellent charity their to offer assistance to sufferers and survivors.



I am so moved by your post, and I also deeply sympathize with you.

I'm a health professional, who has recently witnessed a baby with suspected Meningitis, so I know how horrible it was for the parents and for the little one.

But I do want to hopefully give you some words of hope that your precious little one will be in heaven, safe, out of pain and with the Lord who loves him.

You may or may not believe in God but I know that in such hard times it is difficult to pull any good out of this situation.

Also from a medical perspective, you shouldn't blame yourself, as the mums do know their babies so well and to you there was nothing wrong at first but you did the absolute best for him when things did get worse. You were there for him when he needed you and more. You were so strong. It does take over so quickly, but that was not your doing. You did notice something was wrong and through that it gave you medical attention that gave you more time to spend with him than if nothing was done. He was in the best place he probably could have wished to be, in your arms.

I hope this is a comfort to you and my thoughts, and if you would wish, my prayers are with you at this time as you face time separated from your little one.

Much Love to you and your family. xxx


Thank-you for sharing your photo and story of your beautiful, precious little Duke. It breaks my heart to think of what you, your family and Duke have had to endure. I hope that one day you can let go of your guilt and know that you and the Dr's did all that you could to save your precious Duke from this horrendous disease. There really are no words that one could say that could possibly reflect the depth of your enormous grief and loss. The only comfort that I have to offer is at Revelation 21:4-"And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes and death will be no more neither will mourning nor outcry, nor pain be anymore, the former things have passed away". I carried a heavy load of guilt and grief for 20 years after my father's suicide. It was only after I turned to God and the Bible that I finally found relief for my tremendous pain and guilt as well as finding a true hope of seeing and hugging my Dad again in the future. Again my heart goes out to you and your family. I hope you will one day find the comfort and answers you so desperately yearn for.


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