A mother and father in England are left heartbroken after their daughter suddenly died from meningitis just days after her first birthday.
Hayley Smith and Will Hill’s daughter Ava Hill was a smiling, bubbly baby at her first birthday celebration, but two weeks later, her health rapidly declined and she sadly died of bacterial meningitis.
Reports say that a large team of doctors fought to save the baby’s life for around three hours while her heart stopped five different times, but tragically, they were unable to do anything more and were forced to pronounce her dead on November 12.
Three days before her death, Ava suddenly started exhibiting strange symptoms that concerned her parents.
“She was very sleepy,” said Hayley Smith, Ava’s 28-year-old mother. ““I thought it was just because she was just teething, as she was cutting her first three front teeth.”
The parents knew it was more serious, however, when Ava suddenly had a seizure in their living room. After rushing her to see doctors and waiting through lots of testing, the couple was told that Ava had a virus and that they needed to give her pain medication and plenty of fluids. Still, the pain medication didn’t work, and Ava started getting sicker. Finally, it was determined that little Ava likely had bacterial meningitis – a diagnosis that was confirmed following her untimely death.
“I kept willing her to get better,” said Smith. “Your mind just goes blank. It’s hard seeing your child like that. Everyone at the hospital did what they could but they told me they couldn’t bring her round after her heart stopped for the fifth time. I broke down. I couldn’t believe it. She had always been a happy and healthy baby and never had anything wrong with her before which is why it was such a shock. No words can describe how we feel. It’s just the worst feeling imaginable – no-one expects to have to have to arrange a funeral for their child.”
Hayley says that in retrospect, she realizes she had a feeling that her daughter was suffering from more than virus when she initially started exhibiting symptoms.
“I had a gut feeling all along that it was something more than a normal virus,” said Smith. “This is why it’s important parents know all the symptoms. I’d hate for anyone else to go through what we have.”
More than $3,700 has reportedly been raised to help the couple with funeral costs and Christmas presents for their three-year-old son.