Mum saves her baby’s life after realising chicken pox diagnosis was actually meningitis

A mother saved her baby’s life by after realising that a doctor’s chicken pox diagnosis was actually a much more serious illness.

Tiffany Staveley noticed that her then five-month-old daughter Ava, who was usually ‘lovely, bubbly and perfect’, had undergone a dramatic change in behaviour back in September 2014.

The mum-of-two said that the little one was sleeping more than usual, seemed lethargic, had a loss of appetite and most worryingly, had developed purplish and red spots on her face and body.

Tiffany Turner

Tiffany Turner added a new photo.

Within 24 hours, Ava was suffering with a growing rash that was spreading across her arms, legs, feet and stomach.

Tiffany and her fiancée John suspected that something was seriously wrong, and so took their baby to the out-of-hours doctor surgery – but after speaking to a healthcare professional, they were advised to simply soothe the rash with calamine lotion, a common treatment for chicken pox.

However, Tiffany couldn’t rid herself of the niggling feeling the the diagnosis was incorrect, particularly as the chicken pox her eight-year-old son had previously experienced looked very different.

Looking back now, Tiffany reflects: ‘My mother’s instinct told me the doctor was wrong.’

The 26-year-old returned home, but stayed by her daughter’s side, and after Ava began vomiting, had her admitted to Leeds General Infirmary, where blood tests revealed that the child had rare Kawasaki disease, which causes a rash, swollen glands, cracked lips and redness in the fingers, toes and eyes.

Tiffany Turner

Beautiful morning smiles 🙂 x

In addition to treating the illness with an antibiotic drip and immunotherapy therapy, doctors performed a lumbar puncture and inserted a large needle into Ava’s back. Tests then revealed she also had pneumococcal meningitis, a bacterial strain of the disease.

After being treated with further antibiotics and spending five days in hospital, Ava was allowed home, but spent the next few months being monitored for lasting damage on her heart.

Now her daughter is a healthy and happy two-year-old, with mum Tiffany still marvelling at how her little girl battled two serious illnesses before she was even six months old.

It was a terrible time,’ she said. ‘As I held Ava, her skin started turning blotchy and then her nails peeled off. But luckily I knew something was amiss. Mother’s instinct saved her.’