Vikki Mitchell is at her daughter Kia’s hospital bedside each morning by 8am. She spends the day speaking to her, stroking her hair, keen her to maintain combating.
The nurses on the high-dependency unit at Leeds Basic Infirmary, the place 11-month-old Kia is being handled, have informed Vikki that they’ve by no means seen a baby so sick pull by means of.
The docs remind her extra typically than she must be reminded that her daughter nonetheless might not survive.
However Vikki is clinging to hope, as a result of that’s all she’s received.
That Kia remains to be with us is nothing in need of a miracle. Within the early hours of September 24, she was rushed to hospital with meningitis C. So extreme was the blood poisoning raging by means of her tiny physique that her legs and arms had turned black.
She has since had all 4 of her limbs amputated — the final, her left arm, two weeks in the past — and lies in her mattress, hooked as much as tubes and wires and displays, clinging to life.
Kia Gott (pictured) was rushed to hospital with meningitis C earlier this 12 months after her physique started to show black
Vikki and her associate, Kia’s father Paul Gott, are, in fact, devastated. Seeing their baby woman mendacity helpless in hospital, swaddled in bandages, ‘kills us’ every single day.
Their devastation is compounded by anger, too. For if Kia had been born simply months earlier, she might not have contracted meningitis in any respect.
In July 2016, the meningitis C vaccine, routinely provided to all infants within the UK at 12 weeks outdated to guard them from that specific pressure of the illness, was quietly withdrawn from the nationwide vaccination programme. As a substitute, it was determined that the vaccine can be given at 12 months.
Ten months earlier, in September 2015, the meningitis B vaccine — providing safety in opposition to the extra widespread pressure — had been launched on the NHS and was being provided to infants at eight weeks outdated.
Based on the Meningitis Analysis Basis, one of many causes the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation, which advises the Authorities, determined to withdraw the meningitis C vaccine at 12 weeks was as a result of incident charges had dropped considerably, and it was believed that the brand new meningitis B jab, a breakthrough vaccine, would additionally provide some safety in opposition to meningitis C, too.
One other issue was the introduction in September 2015 of one other meningitis vaccine, often known as ACWY and given to kids on the age of 14, which might assist construct ‘herd immunity’ that might additionally defend infants and younger kids.
Nevertheless it didn’t defend Kia Gott. Previously few days, Vikki and Paul have begun a petition calling for the meningitis C vaccine to be reinstated at 12 weeks. The variety of infants contracting meningitis C stays low, but it surely has risen for the reason that vaccine at that age was withdrawn.
Vikki Mitchell and Paul Gott (pictured) have been informed that their daughter Kia, might not survive
Statistics launched by Public Well being England present that in 2015-16 (from July 1 to June 30), two kids as much as the age of 5 contracted the illness; within the 12 months 2016-17, the determine had risen to 6. In infants as much as 12 months, the determine rose from one case in 2015-16 to 4 in 2016-17.
‘We’re devastated,’ says Vikki. ‘Each day, I get up feeling sick. We’ve been informed that Kia may not survive, however I’m holding on to hope as a result of that’s what will get me off the bed within the morning. We had no concept the meningitis C vaccine had been stopped at 12 weeks. We had been informed the numbers of infants who contracted it was very low — however, in our view, one case is one too many.
‘We’d have had the injection privately if we’d recognized. Our lives have been destroyed by this. Kia’s life because it ought to have been has been taken away from her.’
Two weeks in the past, Vikki and Paul obtained a heartfelt letter from Sophie, Countess of Wessex — the spouse of Prince Edward and a mom of two — who’s a patron of the Meningitis Now charity.
We’ve been informed that Kia may not survive, however I’m holding on to hope as a result of that’s what will get me off the bed within the morning – Vikki
She’d heard about Kia and felt moved to get in contact.
‘I needed to write down to you after studying about your lovely baby daughter, Kia,’ she wrote. ‘I’m utterly heartbroken and devastated by Kia’s prognosis and might’t start to think about how you feel at this impossibly troublesome time.
‘I’m so very sorry for what you’re going by means of. I do know phrases are inconsequential, however I felt compelled to achieve out. I want you peace, power and hope as Kia rebuilds her power and I ship my like to your loved ones.’
‘It was a really good letter,’ says Vikki. ‘There was a phone quantity on the letter, so we known as to ask Sophie to return to see Kia. We had been informed she was in Bangladesh [the Countess was on a solo tour of the country], however we hope to listen to from her now that she is again.’
Since Kia was admitted to hospital in September, Vikki has stored a vigil at her daughter’s bedside and has been sleeping in hospital lodging, whereas Paul stays on the household residence close to Bradford, West Yorkshire, and takes care of their two elder kids, Kayden, 9, and four-year-old Elsie.
Kia has needed to have enormous doses of painkiller medication — together with fentanyl, which is 50 instances stronger than morphine, and ketamine, an anaesthetic — that are administered intravenously by means of a Hickman line fitted into her chest.
Kia (pictured) started retching and appeared to have bruises on her face, when her mother and father known as for an ambulance on September 23rd
Docs are actually slowly withdrawing these medication. She is fed high-calorie method milk by means of a nasogastric tube.
After contracting a chest an infection final week, this week Kia’s situation seems to have improved barely.
Now much less closely sedated, it introduced her mum and pa huge pleasure final week to see her open her eyes. ‘I held her yesterday on my knee,’ says Vikki, with a triumphant smile.
‘Once I spoke to her, she turned her head to me. The previous few days, she has been a bit extra responsive. She’s had her eyes open.’ It could appear a tiny factor, however docs had initially warned that Kia was more likely to be left considerably mind broken, blind and deaf.
Then the smile fades once more. ‘Once you’re at somebody’s hospital bedside, you naturally go to carry their hand. However I can’t do this. So I stroke her face and hair and speak to her,’ says Vikki.
Once you’re at somebody’s hospital bedside, you naturally go to carry their hand. However I can’t do this
‘We’ve been amazed at how she retains going after the whole lot that’s been thrown at her — she’s such somewhat fighter.’
Kia’s combat for all times started on September 23. That day, she developed a excessive temperature and was poorly. Vikki put her to mattress with a bottle at 9.30pm, and the household went to mattress.
At round 2am, Vikki and Paul had been awoken by the sound of Kia retching. ‘We rushed into her room and switched on the sunshine,’ recollects Vikki. ‘She had what seemed like bruises throughout her face. They appeared to be showing earlier than my very eyes.
‘We guessed right away what it was and known as an ambulance.
‘On the best way to hospital, they drilled into the bone to get medication into her and slit the pores and skin on her leg to attempt to get the blood flowing, but it surely didn’t work.
‘Once we arrived at hospital, an anaesthetist tried to get a line into her artery, however couldn’t. She mentioned if she couldn’t get a line in, that might be it. Fortunately, one other anaesthetist managed to do it.
Kia’s mother and father had been informed that if the sound of her retching hadn’t woken them up, they’d’ve awoken to a useless baby
‘The docs didn’t know which pressure of meningitis Kia had. They had been pumping antibiotics into her, however the treatment wasn’t working. Her legs and arms had been black.
‘They do a check to point out the extent of an infection. A traditional is degree across the quantity 5 — Kia’s was 200-plus.
‘We had been informed it was the worst case of meningitis the docs had ever seen and that, if we hadn’t been woken up, we’d have awoken the subsequent morning to a useless baby.’
Kia was given medication to maintain her coronary heart going. Docs informed Vikki, 30, and Paul, a 35-year-old window fitter, that there was no possibility aside from to amputate Kia’s limbs if she had been to have an opportunity of surviving.
‘The docs defined how the physique works in such circumstances,’ says Vikki.
‘It says to itself: “I don’t want my extremities, however I would like my organs” — so blood is diverted away from the legs and arms, reducing off their oxygen provide and turning them black. Studying that Kia would lose her limbs was horrible, but it surely didn’t appear actual — it nonetheless doesn’t.’
It feels as if we’re standing on the fringe of a cliff and we don’t know what’s going to occur subsequent
The primary amputation was carried out on October 19. The others had been carried out at intervals of round ten days in between, to provide Kia’s physique an opportunity to relaxation.
Her proper arm has been amputated slightly below the elbow, her left above the wrist. Her left leg was amputated above the knee, whereas she’s misplaced her proper leg from the center of the thigh.
‘Every operation lasted round three hours,’ says Vikki. ‘Each time, it was getting into the unknown. We didn’t understand how Kia’s physique would cope.
‘In the course of the surgical procedure, Paul and I walked into Leeds to attempt to take our minds off it, however, in fact, you may’t.
‘Kia did rather well after the primary two amputations, however after the final two, she was very poorly. She slept more often than not and, after the ultimate one, she developed a chest an infection.
Kia’s mother and father had been informed that she was 90 per cent mind broken earlier than her amputations had been carried out
‘Any type of an infection is doubtlessly deadly to Kia as a result of she has no immunity. Paul wasn’t allowed to see her for a few days this week as a result of he had a nasty chilly.
‘She has had kidney issues, too, and has needed to have dialysis. She’s additionally had a few blood transfusions. The docs are fearful that her intestine isn’t working correctly.
‘It feels as if we’re standing on the fringe of a cliff and we don’t know what’s going to occur subsequent.’ Vikki says that whereas she is sensible in regards to the gravity of Kia’s state of affairs, she has been upset by the ‘detrimental’ angle of her daughter’s guide.
‘Kia’s guide hasn’t received religion in her. It’s at all times dangerous information, at all times detrimental. I do know it’s important to be sensible, however I can see the detrimental stuff in entrance of me. I have to deal with the constructive — I would like hope, as a result of hope’s all that’s protecting me going.
‘The guide has mentioned she thinks just one spherical of resuscitation can be truthful if Kia has a cardiac arrest.
‘However what’s truthful about that? Kia has had her legs and arms amputated. That’s not truthful.’
If she will smile and simply let me know she’s completely happy, I’ll be OK
Earlier than the amputations had been carried out, an MRI scan was completed, and docs informed Kia’s mother and father she was ‘90 per cent brain-damaged’. (Meningitis causes an infection of the membranes surrounding the mind and spinal twine, in addition to blood poisoning).
They had been warned that she was nearly actually blind and deaf, and incapable of impartial motion.
‘I simply don’t agree,’ says Vikki. ‘Kia undoubtedly reacts to sound and me speaking to her, and I’ve seen her react to gentle, too. The opposite day, she moved the highest of her arm, however the docs simply mentioned it was a nervous response to the amputation.
‘Kia is on so many medication in the mean time that she will’t be correctly assessed. It’s a ready recreation. However we’re hoping that the docs are improper.
‘The nurses have been fantastic, although. One among them phoned Paul the opposite day actually excited as a result of she’d seen Kia observe her across the room together with her eyes.’
Vikki says Kia’s brother Kayden (pictured left) places on a courageous face for the household
Vikki says there may be now a plan in place for Kia’s care, which wasn’t there in the beginning as a result of nobody thought she would make it.
Kia’s crew embrace a neurologist, a kidney specialist, an eye fixed physician, a plastic surgeon, a ache crew and a physiotherapist.
Over the previous few days, the physiotherapist has been capable of get Kia off the bed and sit her up on a bean bag.
Within the subsequent few weeks, she’s going to want a pores and skin graft, with pores and skin taken from her again and grafted on to her backside, the place she misplaced pores and skin because of the meningitis.
Kia faces many extra months in hospital. It is going to be her first birthday on December 18, and her mum and pa are planning on doing the whole lot of their energy to make it a contented event for his or her youngest youngster.
They are saying they’ve each grieved to a level for the lack of their daughter as she was. ‘She was solely 9 months outdated, however she was capable of stroll as she held onto our fingers, says Vikki.
‘However now, she’ll by no means throw a snowball, or placed on a pair of gloves, or write her title.
‘Earlier than this, she was saying “ma, ma, ma”, however now we don’t know if she’s going to ever speak.’
She provides: ‘However there will probably be completely different milestones that she will obtain. Her life will probably be completely different, however it is going to be fulfilling. She’s going to want a wheelchair and synthetic limbs. However what’s most essential is that she is cherished.’
A spokesman for the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) mentioned yesterday: ‘Within the UK, MenC illness is now very uncommon throughout all age teams, together with younger infants.
‘The MenACWY vaccination programme in youngsters helps defend folks of all ages by interrupting transmission of those teams of meningococcal illness. This good inhabitants management of MenC illness means the danger to infants is presently low, which is why the JCVI suggested that the MenC dose in infants was discontinued.
‘The dose of mixed Hib/MenC provided at 12 months of age supplies good safety to toddlers and youthful kids.
‘As well as, the introduction of MenB vaccine into the toddler programme might present a level of safety in opposition to some instances of MenC illness.’
After all, a tragedy comparable to this impacts the entire household and Kia’s brother and sister are struggling, too.
‘Kayden is placing on a courageous face as a result of he doesn’t need to upset us,’ says Vikki. ‘He’s such a considerate boy. Elsie says she needs to purchase Kia a pair of legs for Christmas. It’s exhausting for her as a result of she’s not used to me not being there.’
However for now, Vikki’s vigil goes on. She stays at her daughter’s bedside every single day, keen her to get higher. They’re taking it sooner or later at a time.
One factor Kia — at all times such a contented baby earlier than meningitis struck — hasn’t completed since she was admitted to hospital is smile. And that’s what Vikki’s ready for: to see her little woman’s lovely smile once more.
‘If she will smile and simply let me know she’s completely happy, I’ll be OK,’ she says.
That second, Kia’s household and all her many supporters hope and pray will come quickly.
Anybody who wish to donate to Kia’s fundraising web page ought to go to: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/cheryl-dibbin