An Angus mum who was told her baby son was an hour from death is raising awareness of meningitis.
Jen Torrie, 34, from Forfar has raised funds for a meningitis charity and wants to warn other parents of the tell-tale signs to look out for.
Her terrifying ordeal began when her little boy Thain, who is now four, contracted both viral and bacterial meningitis, as well as the cold/flu virus and sickness and diarrhoea.
Jen still recalls the feeling of helplessness as the nursing staff at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee cared for the tot who was then just eight months old.
With Thain now thriving at nursery, she wants to make parents aware of the symptoms they should not ignore.
“Thain was born four weeks early and there was a slight delay in his development,” she said.
“In the October, when he was eight months old, he slept for 12 hours one night and was a little bit sick. In the morning he hardly opened his eyes, never made any sounds.”
She contacted NHS 24 and an ambulance crew took the infant to the Whitehills Health and Community Care Centre in Forfar, where she was told his condition could be viral.
That afternoon she had a doctor’s appointment and Thain was again checked over.
It was thought he had a 24-hour bug. However, his condition deteriorated and the following day he turned a jaundiced colour and his hands and feet were cold.
An ambulance was called and he was taken to Ninewells, where events took an urgent turn.
“He was taken to an assessment bay and the next minute he was all wired up, they did blood tests and treated him for bacterial meningitis,” said Jen.
“They did a CT scan as the soft bit on his head was quite swollen, which was a tell-tale sign. We were told the worst case scenario was they might put him on life support, or airlift him to hospital in Glasgow or Edinburgh.
“The next day he was in the High Dependency Unit. That is when I was told I had one very sick baby on my hands and if I had left him another hour, he wouldn’t be here today.”
Thain battled on for three days in the HDU then six more days in hospital before being allowed home.
Claire Wright, evidence and policy manager at Meningitis Research Foundation said, “Meningitis and septicaemia can develop suddenly.
“Early symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell.
“Limb pain, pale skin and cold hands and feet often appear earlier than the rash, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights and confusion.
“Rapid identification and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia provides the best chance of survival.
“We encourage people to get urgent medical help if they are concerned that someone they know may be ill with meningitis or septicaemia.”
Jen completed a 50k walk over 50 days earlier this year, raising £130, and the Victoria Bar in Forfar, where her partner plays darts, is hosting a Disney quiz night on May 19.
More information about the symptoms to look out for can be found at www.meningitis.org/symptoms