Happy end to family’s swine flu nightmare

Elspeth with her parents
Elspeth with her parents

THE PARENTS of a toddler who suffered fits as a result of swine flu have thanked Eastbourne DGH for saving their daughter’s life.

Fourteen-month-old Elspeth, who lives at Langney Point with her family, was rushed to hospital by ambulance on New Year’s Eve morning after she became ‘floppy and unresponsive’.

Mum Nichola Hill, 37, told the Herald, “It was absolutely terrifying, She locked her mouth and wouldn’t take her dummy.

“Then she was slipping in and out of consciousness and I thought we had lost her.

“My first thoughts were meningitis and I told my husband that we need to get her to the hospital.”

Mum-of-three Nichola called an ambulance and she and her husband Gordon were taken to Eastbourne DGH with Elspeth.

“When we arrived they said they believed there was a problem with her brain,” said Nichola.

“They were in constant contact with Guy’s Hospital in London and it was decided the safest thing to do was to put her on a ventilator.

“Before she was put to sleep we went in to see her and she flickered her eyes.

“I thought, is that the last time I am going to see you alive.”

Tests were carried out and Nichola and Gordon were told little Elspeth had suffered convulsions overnight on Thursday, January 30, which had been caused by a swelling to her brain brought on by swine flu.

“I was so surprised,” said Nichola. “She hadn’t really been very ill. She just had a runny nose and rosy cheeks, but then all the family have been suffering from colds and coughs.

“I certainly didn’t think she had flu. To think she was having fits through the night in the bedroom next door to ours is just terrifying.”

Worried Nichola and Gordon spent five days watching over Elspeth at hospital.

Nichola said, “Even when she came off the ventilator the doctors still had concerns.

“We sat there waiting for a response and when she opened her eyes she just didn’t look like our daughter.

“Then she started thrashing around - it was one extreme to the other.”

But Elspeth, who had not had any previous health problems, is now making an excellent recovery and is back home with her mum, dad and two older brothers Frazer and Alastair.

All the family are currently staying at home and taking Tamiflu.

Nichola added, “Elspeth seems happier than ever and it is as if she realises something scary has happened to her and is glad to be alive.”

Nichola and Gordon have praised the staff at Eastbourne DGH.

She said, “We dialled 999 and from that moment on the magnificent machine that is the NHS took over.

“We placed our precious child’s life in the hands of the amazing paramedics, doctors, nurses, consultants, anaesthetists and all the other staff who helped us.

“With the dedication of the staff, the miracles of modern medicine and lots of prayers, ours was, thankfully, a happy ending.”