When a little girl’s bruises only got worse and worse, it wouldn’t be long before her mom realized the horrible truth. Unfortunately, it was already too late.
Aimee Louise Partridge was thrilled to be marrying her husband Craig. Their love story was finally perfect in every way as the two made it official, and the couple, as well as their kids, couldn’t have been happier. Unfortunately, that joy would be short-lived. Their dream was about to turn into a nightmare, and the horror started to unfold when their honeymoon had just begun.
Aimee’s 7-year-old daughter Brogan filled the role of bridesmaid at Aimee’s wedding to Craig. She stood at the altar with her parents, beaming from ear to ear, as her mom and dad were wed. However, just 14 days later, Brogan’s smile had faded as she laid in a hospital bed, fighting for her life against a very grim prognosis.
During the family honeymoon, days after the wedding, Brogan was diagnosed with an eye infection. Then, Aimee noticed that Brogan had started developing marks all over her little body. Initially, the “bruises” were passed off as being nothing more than the result of a kid being a kid. Even doctors at the local hospital didn’t take them seriously. That would turn out to be a big mistake.
When the troubling marks spread to the rest of Brogan’s body, Aimee knew something was seriously wrong. She took Brogan back to the hospital, where doctors then realized that Brogan was showing clear signs of meningitis, a potentially life-threatening infection. Making matters worse, since Brogan’s treatment was started late due to the initial misdiagnosis, the bacteria was already ravaging her small body.
“It looked nothing like a rash, it looked more like bruising – at the time I never thought it was meningitis and that’s the problem,” admitted Aimee Louise Partridge, who says the marks didn’t resemble the images she had seen for meningitis symptoms. “When people are aware of what symptoms to look out for with meningitis, they say, look for a rash but that’s not what it looked like to me.”
Brogan was rushed to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where the little girl would prove to be a superhero when doctors were forced to amputate her left foot in order to save her life. “This week has totally changed my outlook on life. It has shown what’s important and what isn’t, who’s there and who isn’t,” Aimee told Daily Mail shortly after Brogan’s diagnosis. “All the little things we thought were important to us suddenly aren’t anymore.”
Lisa Reece, Aimee’s 28-year-old cousin, couldn’t hold back her tears when she visited Brogan. “Nothing can prepare you for what meningitis does to a body, let alone a little seven-year-old girl,” she said. “You see it in pictures but in reality, it’s much, much more than just a ‘rash.’ Dark and deep tissue damage is visible and a lot of surgery will be required.”
After doctors completed the amputation of Brogan’s foot and equipped her with a prosthetic, they thought she was out of the woods. Then, they discovered that the infection had caused the main blood vessel in what remained of her leg to die, leaving her in a lot of pain and again threatening her life. So, Brogan’s parents and the doctors agreed that it would also be necessary to amputate part of her leg.
Following the surgery, they again equipped her with a prosthetic to help her walk, but her fight was far from over. Two years passed, and it seemed that Brogan had adapted well to her prosthetic leg, meeting life’s challenges with enthusiasm and a fighting spirit. However, there was no guarantee the infection was gone for good.
Unfortunately, it reared its ugly head again for Brogan at age 9 as the family announced that she would probably need to have her other leg amputated. Luckily, Brogan seems ready to deal with anything life might throw at her. Although she was initially devastated to hear the news, she is now ready to just get it over with and start her road to recovery with physical therapy once again.
As for her parents, they decided to share images of Brogan and her battle as a way to remind other parents to be on the lookout for odd changes to their children’s bodies so they can recognize the symptoms in time and not have to go through what they did.
That being said, headaches and neck stiffness associated with fever, confusion, or altered states of consciousness, as well as vomiting and sensitivity to light or sounds are the most common symptoms of meningitis that parents should be aware of.
Also, keep in mind that children may show additional symptoms such as irritation and drowsiness. Just like in Brogan’s case, rashes and skin changes can also be a sign of meningitis. In fact, meningococcal meningitis is often accompanied by a characteristic rash and skin bleeding. It can also be prevented with a vaccine.
Aimee Louise Partridge says that she’s devastated by what happened, which any parent can understand. However, she’s hopeful that Brogan will quickly adapt to her new life and that her story will help prevent someone else from suffering the same heartache. In support of Brogan and her battle, spread Aimee’s warning to your own loved ones so that no child ends up facing a worse prognosis due to a wrong diagnosis.