A family from Haverhill have thanked the paramedic who helped save the life of their baby girl who was showing symptoms of meningitis.

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Eight-month-old daughter Emily was struck down with potentially fatal meningitis two months ago, and the family have recently met up with Glen Branch, a paramedic from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST), to thank him for his help.

Late on October 27 Karen French and her partner Stuart Elliot first realised that something was wrong with Emily.

Mr Elliot, 31, said: “She had a bit of a temperature on the evening but after feeding her, her temperature returned to normal and she fell asleep so we went to bed ourselves. Then in the early hours of the morning we were woken by her screaming.

“I went over to her and I could feel how hot she was before I even picked her up, she was radiating heat. We rushed to take her clothes off and started checking her for a rash, but we couldn’t find anything. Karen went to get the thermometer while I rang 111 to ask for advice.”

Before Miss French, 35, had returned with the thermometer, Emily had broken out in spots everywhere.

She said: “The rash appeared in what must have been only a minute. I screamed at Stuart to get an ambulance, I was so scared about what could be wrong with her.”

Mr Branch, 48, who is based at the Haverhill ambulance station, said: “We get a lot of calls about children, and fortunately they are usually not as ill as initially feared.

“However, as soon as I saw Emily I knew she was seriously unwell. She was pale, had an exceptionally high temperature and was covered in a rash. We had to get her straight to hospital.”

She was rushed straight to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where she was met by a big medical team who started treating her for meningitis.

Mr Elliot said: “They didn’t yet know it was meningitis but wanted to start treating her for it just in case. The next morning it was confirmed. I can’t explain how scary it was to be told our baby had such a serious illness. You instantly think of the worst case scenario. But fortunately, thanks to Glen and the medics at the hospital, the illness had been caught quickly.”

Emily remained in hospital for just under a week and has since then made a fantastic recovery.

Miss French said: “Glen was amazing and we can’t put into words how grateful we are to him for helping Emily. If it hadn’t been for him we could be facing a very different Christmas, so we wanted to thank him properly and give him the chance to see what a happy, beautiful girl our daughter is turning in to.”

Mr Branch, a paramedic for 13 years, said: “We rarely hear back from patients so it’s always great when they contact us, even more so when we get to meet them and see how well they have recovered.

“I’m touched that the family went to the effort to say thank you – I was just doing my job. It was brilliant to see Emily doing so well and I hope they have a great Christmas together.”

For more information on the signs and symptoms of meningitis, please visit http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Meningitis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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