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In 2010, Kate’s son Jake was critically ill

Jake diagnosed with Meningitis in 2010

Our first experience of the emergency department was when Jake was just two weeks old. 

He was born a month prematurely, but it was natural and he was born healthy.  He kind of struggled for the first two weeks at feeding and putting on weight, and then became really poorly.  It was a really stressful situation because he was such a tiny baby and it was still before his due date. 

So we called an ambulance and were taken to the emergency department in Southampton where we were told Jake had Group B Strep Meningitis.  He had a massive infection in both his brain and spinal cord which caused permanent brain damage and his cerebral palsy.  

Jake is eight now and we go to hospital quite a lot for appointments which were fairly routine up until last year when he had a prolonged seizure at home and so we went in an ambulance to the Southampton emergency department.

As the major trauma centre for central southern England, Southampton has over one million children in our care.

When you’re in a stressful and critical situation, as parents you feel completely helpless as there is nothing you can do to help your child. Everything is taken out of your hands.  You have to put your faith in someone else.

Jake in hospital 2017 after his seizureJake was critically ill, and again it resulted in him staying in hospital for a few days.  After being stabilised, my husband Nick and I were struck by the fact we were in the same room as we had been last time.  It was quite harrowing, as not only was Jake a very poorly boy, it was like being back exactly in the same place as we had been seven years ago with his original diagnosis. Like literally being back in time. 

I think it struck me more as I am a details person.  Once we knew that everything was under control with Jake, it really affected me that I could still see the same paint chips on the wall.  You kind of look around you and think, well nothing has changed, not for us in that particular room.

The number of children admitted to this department has nearly tripled from 9,000 to 25,000 in 11 years.

Despite all this, whenever we’ve gone into the emergency department, even though you could tell in our situation that it was very precarious and serious, everything was very calm. It’s like a sense of calm descends over this horrible situation which your little person is in the middle of and, to be honest, you wouldn’t want him to be anywhere else.

The communication between the ten or so medical staff in the room was outstanding as well.  Somebody was in charge and went round to all the staff who said what they doing and when they were doing it. 

So living near Southampton, I feel very lucky that we live so close to such an amazing hospital.  Yeah, very lucky.  The care has always been amazing.

Southampton will treat over 175,000 children in the first five years in this new world class facility.

This is why we have gotten involved in the Appeal for the new children’s emergency and trauma department.  There is no doubt that they saved my son’s life on more than one occasion. So if I can help to make things even better then I will do anything I can.


Sadly Jake passed away shortly after filming this video. His family have asked us to share this video in his memory.

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