Society

Baby Laughs For First Time, Then Dies Suddenly

| by Sean Kelly
Evan SummerfieldEvan Summerfield

A British family was devastated when their 4-month-old baby suddenly died from meningitis just hours after laughing for the first time.

The baby, Evan Summerfield, had reportedly just learned how to laugh just 12 hours prior to his death, which occurred after a rash was discovered that stretched from his head down to his belly button, the Daily Mail reported.

Evan was rushed to a hospital in Plymouth, where he was diagnosed with Meningococcal Septicemia, a bloodstream infection that can result from bacterial meningitis, and died a short time later.

"We're so confused how fast this horrible, nasty illness just takes hold," Evan’s grandmother, 38-year-old Sarah Summerfield, said, according to the Daily Mail. "One moment he was laughing and smiling and then, it seems like in a heartbeat, he was so cruelly taken away."

The baby was reportedly staying with his great grandparents when he fell ill with a high fever.

“They took him to the doctors and that was the first and last time he laughed,” Sarah said. "It's like he left it for us.

“The doctor said he had a virus and gave him Calpol and Nurofen, and said if it gets worse he should come straight back. They went home and put him to bed and he was fine, but in the morning he had a rash from the top of his head to his belly button. My mum did the glass test and called 999 - she was so quick-thinking - it would be easy to think it was chicken pox.”

Sarah said she never thought she’d have to plan a funeral for her grandchild.

“It’s not right," she said. "I should have gone first before my grandson. He was so loved by everyone around him and everyone who saw him would comment on his gorgeous big, blue eyes. He was such a content baby.

"He had just learnt a new trick of taking his dummy out, and he loved the Simpsons, Iggle Piggle and 64 Zoo Lane - and even used to watch MASH with his great granddad. Everyone said what a brilliant mother Shannon was and Kris was a brilliant father. Even if Shannon just left the room for a second when she came back he would say 'muh' and his big eyes would be beaming.” 

Two Canadian parents were recently convicted in the death of their toddler, who died of meningitis, CBC reported. David and Collet Stephan were found guilty of letting their son suffer from bacterial meningitis and “failing to provide the necessaries of life."

“What we hope that the public and the community takes away from this particular trial and the verdict in this trial is that all parents are held to a minimum standard of care that all children should expect at all times,” prosecutor Lisa Weich said, according to CBC.

“They definitely, definitely loved their son, but as stated in our closing argument and even in our opening arguments, unfortunately, sometimes love just isn't enough," she added. "Parents still have to follow the standard of care that is set by the criminal law."

Sources: Daily Mail, CBC / Photo credit: Shannon Summerfield via Daily Mail

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