Mum’s warning as baby boy loses fingers and toes after waking up with red blotch


A one-year-old baby will likely lose his fingertips and toes after waking up with an unusual rash – which turned out to be meningitis. Teddie Walne-Stewart, 17 months, would have died if it wasn’t for his mum Zoe’s quick response after she noticed a tiny rash on his head.

The infant was behaving as mischievously normal, and was full of energy the day before he woke up with a red blotch on his head. Mum-of-four Zoe Walne, 37, had left her partner Duncan Stewart at home to meet her mum for an Easter Sunday walk – but by the time she had made the car journey, the seemingly small blotch had spread to his tummy, the Mirror reports.

After calling 111, the stay at home mum was told to “keep an eye on it” and wait up to two hours for a follow-up call. Within minutes, the spots started to turn purple. Zoe said: “When he woke up he had a bit of an unusual rash, but it went downhill fast from there.”

READ MORE: Boy, 9, died after surgery at Great Ormond Street hospital where parents were told he had ‘1% chance of death’

Baby Teddie, pictured before he fell ill, with mum Zoe and dad Duncan
Baby Teddie, pictured before he fell ill, with mum Zoe and dad Duncan

Zoe, from Burnley in Lancashire, says that she noticed a tiny pink mark on his forehead at first, and thought it was strange. She had planned to ask her mum what her thoughts were, but by the time she arrived at her house, he had a similar marking on his stomach.

Speaking to The Mirror, she added: “I said ‘I’m just going to ring 111 because I’m not sure what they are’. The woman on the phone told me to keep an eye on them and said that she would get a doctor to ring me back in two hours. But within about 45 minutes the one near his neck looked like a bit of a bruise so I thought ‘I’m not waiting’.”

“I rung back up and described it again and she said I’m going to ring you an ambulance.” Within minutes paramedics arrived and told Zoe they suspected Teddie had the “dreaded” meningitis – an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, can cause life-threatening poisoning of the blood known as septicaemia.

Zoe has warned other parents to follow their gut instinct and not to wait if you feel you can't
Zoe has warned other parents to follow their gut instinct and not to wait if you feel you can’t

Paramedics gave him antibiotics and rushed Teddie to Blackburn Hospital, by which point Teddie’s rash had got even darker. Zoe added: “It was a blur. When we got to the hospital the doctor said that is text book meningitis rash. They were all rushing around him doing things and they told me to call Duncan and I was starting to get scared.

“They said it was going to be really unpleasant because they didn’t have time to wait for the pain relief to kick in and they needed to drill into his shin bones. He was starting to bleed from his mouth and his nose, it was just terrifying.”

Teddie was sent to Manchester Children’s Hospital by emergency transfer, where he was rushed Intensive Care and put into an induced coma. He stayed on life support and was administered a paralysis medicine while doctors placed him into a freezer jacket to try and cool his skyrocketing temperature.

After seven days, Teddie started showing signs of being able to breathe on his own and continued to get stronger with medication to fight the infection. But doctors are now running tests to see if any brain functions have been affected while parts of his body were starved of proper oxygen and blood supply.

Teddie had been a happy mischievous little boy just the day before
Teddie had been a happy mischievous little boy just the day before

Teddie is also being cared for by a plastic surgery team who are trying to heal the huge blisters that have developed where the rash was. Medics have already confirmed that the septicaemia infection has claimed five fingertips and five toes, meaning he will need more operations on his life changing injuries.

Zoe’s brother Nathan has launched a GoFundMe page to support the family who rely on Duncan’s income as a self-employed gardener, but have now been unable to leave their youngest son’s bedside. For now though, the couple say they are just grateful he is alive, and urged other parents to listen to their gut.

Zoe said: “I don’t think I have ever prayed as much in my life to be honest It’s the most terrifying thing I think I have ever been through. He has been such a fighter through it all. I keep thanking my lucky stars that he’s here. The doctors said to me ‘you need to realise you saved his life, because if you had waited for the doctor to ring you back Teddie wouldn’t be here now’.

“They said it could have been caused by someone kissing him, coughing near him, it could have been absolutely anything. They just can’t tell you and that’s the scariest thing. He was running round on the Friday and Saturday the same mischievous little boy eating chocolate.

“You wouldn’t have known anything was wrong if you’d have waited because that’s the advice you’ve been given by 111 but you’ve got to follow your gut, you know your child and if you don’t think you can wait, don’t wait. It was a matter of life and death for Teddie.”

To donate to the family’s GoFundMe please click here

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