Charlie's Story

Written by his grandparents

Our second grandson Charlie Mancktelow was born at home on July 4th 2008, a much wanted brother for Harry, who was nearly three. For the first two weeks he made excellent progress but at seventeen days old he became unwell. Two visits to his GP that day suggested he was suffering from colic. During the night he became more distressed so our daughter took him directly to the local hospital in Basildon.

In hospital Charlie, now with both parents and supported by granddad, became more ill. He was seen immediately by a Nurse Practitioner who rushed Charlie into A & E. where he was given antibiotics. Consultants were called and there were immediate concerns for his ability to breathe. With his condition rapidly deteriorating and his lack of response to treatment, his body began to shut down. Miraculously a consultant who had previously worked in the PICU at St Mary’s was called. She recognized the severity of the situation and arrangements were begun to transfer Charlie to intensive care at St Mary’s who fortunately had a bed available. The C.A.T.S ambulance was called and Charlie and his two parents were rushed to St Mary’s where Charlie, now critically ill, was admitted. The doctors were initially unable to diagnose which virus Charlie had contracted but fought tirelessly to look after him. After three days Charlie was diagnosed with Sepsis and the Parechovirus which is very rare. Doctors were fearful that if Charlie survived he might be brain damaged, have heart problems or lose a leg. Charlie was given a new vaccine and he slowly began to respond. The care he received during the eight long days he spent in PICU was exceptional. His parents were able to stay by his bedside constantly, snatching only a few hours sleep at night at one of the local hotels, funded by COSMIC.

From a grandparent's point of view this was an exceptionally difficult time. We were desperately worried about Charlie who was so desperately ill, but we also had to be strong for Harry. His new baby brother and his parents had suddenly disappeared to a hospital in London and he could not see them. He stayed with us the whole time and we had to be very positive and continue as normal for his sake. We could shed our tears at night time.

After numerous tests and a C.T. scan Charlie was well enough to return to Basildon Hospital where he spent a further three weeks continuing his recovery. His mother continued to sleep by his bedside in the children’s ward.

Charlie’s parents had been warned that he may suffer long-term effects from serious illness. He has had numerous appointments with many care professionals including paediatricians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists. His parents and family have dedicated many hours of support at home, and Charlie is doing well. He has a global development problem and delayed speech. He suffers with some circulation problems and it takes him longer to grasp some concepts. However he continues to make amazing progress. In September 2011 he joined the Nursery Class at the local mainstream school which his older brother attends. He will need some support with learning because he still finds speech and communication somewhat difficult but he is improving every day.

As a family we have taken part in three COSMIC walks and last year Charlie walked part of the way himself. We can never thank the PICU at St Mary’s hospital enough. Their care and dedicated nursing has meant that Charlie has been able to become a lively second son and younger brother to make his family complete.  

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