Dad and son who was close to dying to join DGH march

Dave Simmonds and his son Harry will be taking part in the Save the DGH March
Dave Simmonds and his son Harry will be taking part in the Save the DGH March

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A father whose son had pneumococcal meningitis and was taken to hospital in the brink of time will be joining thousands of people tomorrow for the Save the DGH march.

Dave Simmonds’ son Harry was taken to the DGH with flu like symtpoms and within 20 minutes of arriving at the hospital he had a seizure and the family was told had they got there 30 minutes later he would have died.

The 41-year-old, who has blasted the downgrading of services at the hospital as immoral, said had the incident happened now his son would no longer be here.

Referring to the worrying turn of events which happened last year he added, “It is now clear that the immediate care he received (Anti- viral and anti- bacterial delivered intravenously) saved his life.

“The lead consultant at the time said to me that if he had got there 30 minutes later we would have lost him.

“Travelling to either the Conquest or Royal Sussex takes at least 30 minutes on a good day. This means had this happened this month we would have lost our son due to an entirely preventable situation.”

Mr Simmonds, from Lower Willingdon, will be taking to the streets of Eastbourne with seven-year-old Harry tomorrow to campaign against the downgrading of emergency core services.

He said, “I think with any parent in any walk of life, if it was their child’s chances of survival being reduced by having effective core services removed from their local district general I know what their private thoughts would be; despite what they may claim in front of the cameras.

“We were relieved we had the facilities so close to us and are aware how different the situation could have been if we had to go elsewhere like the Royal Sussex County Hospital or the Conquest.

“I think it’s important that people with real life examples [take part in the march] to dispute the assumptions that have been borne out of statistics. I think it’s essential that people like myself stand up and demonstrate and say ‘No this is not right’.”