COURTNEY GUY - Daily Mirror 13 February 2006

 


On 14th January we ran the very sad story of Courtney Guy, a little girl of eight who died suddenly of memingitis. Our Bloodhound (Danny Boy) has since sent me the following article from The Mirror.

DOCTORS TOLD US IT WAS JUST A TUMMY BUG ..
...24 HOURS LATER SHE WAS DEAD

by Charlotte Dalton
Daily Mirror
13 February 2006

THE mere mention of the word meningitis strikes terror into every parent. But the tragic tale of eight-year-old Courtney Guy, who died from the disease just hours after being told she was suffering from a simple tummy bug, is heart-breaking.

The terrible misdiagnosis was even harder to bear because, just one month earlier, her brother Kristian, 13, had been hospitalised with meningitis before being discharged.

Yet despite her brother's close call, and having herself displayed several classic symptoms associated with the highly contagious illness, Courtney still wasn't treated in time.

It was 10 hours after she fell ill before she was finally diagnosed, even though her doctor had seen her rash and knew she had a sore throat.

She died on January 5 this year.

Her mum, Lisa, 33, and 54-year-old stepdad, David, a company director, from Heanor, Derbyshire, have been left devastated.

Here Lisa opens up her diary to us as she struggles to come to terms with her daughter's sudden death...

WEDNESDAY, JAN 4

COURTNEY started complaining about having a sore throat and funny tummy today.

I panicked. It's been only a month since her brother was in hospital with meningitis. I'm all too familiar with the symptoms after what happened to Kristian.

The doctor visited but said it wasn't meningitis, it was just an upset stomach. I had no reason to doubt an expert.

THURSDAY, JAN 5

WHEN Courtney didn't get better, the doctor came back. A paramedic visited too.

This time they rushed my daughter to hospital. I prayed she would be okay but we were given the shattering news that she did have meningitis.

David, Kristian and I sat by Courtney's bedside, feeling helpless but convinced she would get better. "It's alright, baby, mummy's here," I told her - and I believed it.

But then her condition quickly worsened. Doctors made us leave the room as they did some tests.

When they came out, they said she had gone. I screamed so loudly, everyone in the hospital must have heard.

Utterly bewildered by the suddenness of her death, I stroked Courtney's hand as I said goodbye to her.

THURSDAY, JAN 12

THE week went by in a blur. The only thing that kept me going was planning the funeral.

The church was packed, and people even lined the streets.

I asked everyone to wear pink for Courtney, as it was her favourite colour. I even filled the church with pink balloons and buried her in a pink coffin. We played Faith Hill's There You'll Be as we brought in the coffin.

My heart ached.

SATURDAY, JAN 14

IT'S only just beginning to sink in. All I can do is watch endless home videos of Courtney, singing and dancing.

Kristian's trying so hard to be strong, but I know he's suffering.

He was so protective of his little sister. I don't believe the pain will ever go away.

SUNDAY, JAN 15

I WILL never see Courtney grow up.

She had so much to offer. She had a beautiful smile and was usually the centre of attention. Always there when I felt down, she'd say: "Don't be sad, Mummy," flinging her arms around me.

MONDAY, JAN 16

I CAN hear myself speaking but my mind is never there because I am always thinking of Courtney. I'm so overwhelmed with grief that I hardly notice the days passing.

TUESDAY, JAN 17

I MISS the letters Courtney would write me: "Mummy, I love you, please don't ever leave me," she'd say in her girlish scrawl. There were times I wished she'd give e a minute's peace. Now the silence is so loud.

I wish I could turn back time so I could ignore the GP's diagnosis. I would only trust the hospital.

There is no way of numbing the pain. The days hurt and the nights are unbearable.

THURSDAY, JAN 19

I WAS thinking about our holiday to Sri Lanka when David and I got married. I was so proud of Courtney as I watched her playing in the pool. She rode an elephant called Monica. Someone told her that once you feed an elephant it never forgets you, so she insisted on giving Monica a bunch of bananas from the palm of her hand.

SATURDAY, JAN 21

I'M trying to stay strong for Kristian, but it's so difficult. I'd give everything just to have Courtney back, tearing around the house playing her favourite game of hide and seek.

My grief is giving way to fury. I'm so angry that I trusted the experts with her life.

They knew she had a rash, a sore throat and a tummy ache. They also knew her brother had just been treated for meningitis. They should have spotted it.

FRIDAY, JAN 27

THE local healthcare trust and ambulance service have informed me they are happy the doctor and paramedics took "appropriate" steps to save Courtney. It made my stomach turn. I'm determined they won't get away with it. I had a meeting with the local MP to request an independent inquiry into her death.

Something needs to be done to answer all my questions and explain why so many fatal errors were made.

I won't just go quietly away, I ntend to make a nuisance of myself until I get some answers.

TUESDAY, FEB 7

IT'S now been over a month since Courtney died. The grief doesn't get any easier and now I'm overwhelmed with anger. I'm determined to get justice for her. The least I can do is try and stop this happening to another family.

I couldn't bear the thought of someone else's mum having to deal with what I've been going through.

I know I can't bring Courtney back, but I need to make sure my precious little princess didn't die in vain.

I sat by her bedside, feeling helpless but convinced she would get better

My grief is giving way to fury. I'm so angry I trusted the experts with her life

WHY DO DOCTORS FIND MENINGITIS SO HARD TO SPOT?

EVERY year there is at least one the loss of a limb. So why do doctors find it so hard to spot?

Jane Blewitt, the education and training coordinator of charity Meningitis Trust, explains: "Many of the early symptoms of. meningitis - headaches, extreme tiredness and high temperature - can signal much more common conditions such as flu.

"Meningitis is quite rare in comparison - in fact some GPs will go through their entire career without seeing even one case.

"The rash, which indicates that the infection has turned to septicaemia (blood poisoning) often doesn't develop until later." 

Typical meningitis and septicaemia symptoms include fever, vomiting, headache, a stiff neck, joint or muscle aches, dislike of bright lights, drowsiness, confusion and a rash that doesn't disappear when pressed with a glass.

Babies may be floppy and fretful, with ' a blank expression and a high-pitched cry.

Consult your GP as soon as possible if you're worried, but if you're still concerned afterwards, don't hesitate to seek a second opinion. If necessary, go to an accident

For more information call the Meningitis Trust helpline on 0845 6000 800 or log on to www.meningilis-lrosl.org

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