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Miracle baby survives deadly sepsis as mother vows to thank lifesavers

PUBLISHED: 12:36 22 August 2018

Ashley, now almost four months old, has overcome viral meningitis and sepsis, and his mother Louise is raising money to help fund the childrens' ward of Ipswich Hospital. Picture: LOUISE HAMMETT

Ashley, now almost four months old, has overcome viral meningitis and sepsis, and his mother Louise is raising money to help fund the childrens' ward of Ipswich Hospital. Picture: LOUISE HAMMETT

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Meet little Ashley – a three-month-old miracle baby who has fought off two deadly illnesses in his short life – including a serious bout of sepsis.

Ashley, now almost four months old, has overcome viral meningitis and sepsis, and his mother Louise is raising moneyu to help fund the children's ward of Ipswich Hospital. Picture: LOUISE HAMMETTAshley, now almost four months old, has overcome viral meningitis and sepsis, and his mother Louise is raising moneyu to help fund the children's ward of Ipswich Hospital. Picture: LOUISE HAMMETT

Born healthy at Ipswich Hospital in May, the youngster was quickly allowed to go home with mother Louise Hammett and her two older children Nathaniel, six, and Zach, four.

But disaster struck at the beginning of June – when Mrs Hammett was woken in the night by strange noises coming from Ashley’s cot. She discovered he was boiling hot and dialled 999 – as his breathing got rapidly worse.

Little did she know, her newborn had developed the deadly illness sepsis – as a result of viral meningitis. Now his mother has revealed plans to thank the hospital that saved Ashley’s life – as she speaks out to warn others.

“When we got to the hospital there were doctors running down the corridor at the same time,” Mrs Hammett explained.

Ashley, now almost four months old, has overcome viral meningitis and sepsis, and his mother Louise is raising money to help fund the children's ward of Ipswich Hospital Picture: LOUISE HAMMETTAshley, now almost four months old, has overcome viral meningitis and sepsis, and his mother Louise is raising money to help fund the children's ward of Ipswich Hospital Picture: LOUISE HAMMETT

“Ashley had a temperature of 39.1C and a heart rate of 209 beats per minute.”

When the family arrived at Ipswich Hospital a lumbar puncture – a procedure involving a large needle taking fluid from the spine – revealed the newborn had sepsis as a result of viral meningitis. He spent 24 hours in a critical condition, with a temperature just below 40C and a racing heartbeat. However, thanks to a concerted effort by medics, his fever finally broke and three months later Ashley is recovering well. Mrs Hammett, a discharge coordinator at the hospital, added: “I have two older children, I don’t worry about this sorts of things, but this can kill children. The nurses at the hospital worked so hard and Ashley has everything he needed, I can’t thank them enough for acting so quickly.”

She is hoping to thank teams at the hospital with a fundraiser, which will involve live music, games, face painting and star-studded raffle prizes including a signed Ed Sheeran CD and a shirt and gloves donated by Ipswich Town goalkeeper Bart Bialkowski.

Mrs Hammett also wants to warn other parents and make them aware of the potential warning signs of meningitis that might go overlooked.

She added: “For me it was the unusual grunting noise that made me think something was wrong.

“If you notice anything at all that is different with your child and they have a high temperature, call 111.”

The Ipswich Hospital charity fundraiser takes place at the Ipswich Model Engineering Society on Foxhall Road at 10am, Sunday September 22.

What is sepsis and how can you avoid it?

Sepsis is a medical complication that can occur when you have an infection or as a result of septicaemia.

When you have an infection anywhere in your body, you release chemicals that can kill bacteria and viruses, but if the body releases too many it causes inflammation in your tissues and can potentially reach your bloodstream. But those more at risk are the very young, very old, pregnant women or those who have recently had surgery. Sepsis can be treated at home with antibiotics if caught early.

However, if an infection reaches the bloodstream, it can lead to blood poisoning and can rapidly spread through the body.

If this happens you may go into septic shock, which can leave people in hospital for several weeks or even result in death.

Symptoms in babies under six months are a fever over 38C, a grunting noise with every breath, floppiness and a mottled, bluish or pale look to their skin.

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