The McGuiness Family Story

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A happy, healthy boy

Jamie was 15 days old and had just had his first visit from the Health Visitor. All seemed well and she was happy with how well he was doing. Jamie was a good weight, good colour and very alert.

After she left, Louise gave Jamie his milk and he went for a sleep. At around 6pm Louise went to feed Jamie again and to get ready for bed. However, Jamie didn’t stir. “I tried to waken him and I couldn’t. I lifted him and he was drowsy, hard to wake up and he felt hot to touch. We took his temperature, and it was 38.2ºC. I immediately knew something wasn’t right”.

Louise and her husband called NHS24, and after a consultation over the phone they were concerned and arranged an ambulance.

Louise was initially taken to Monklands Hospital for Jamie to be examined and their initial thoughts was he had meningitis. This resulted in a further transfer to Wishaw General Hospital by to ambulance to get further tests.

Wishaw General Hospital

They arrived at Wishaw around 8.30pm and Jamie was admitted straight away. Louise remembers how “My mum had met me over there as my husband was at home looking after our 8 year old daughter at the time, Zoe”.

The medical team took blood and urine from Jamie to determine what was causing the high temperature. It was definitely an infection but they needed to determine what was causing it.

Jamie’s skin had gone very marbled in colour and the doctors were really concerned. The test results came back quickly and confirmed that Jamie was very sick, he had sepsis. A life threatening reaction to an infection.

Jamie needed urgent medical attention

Immediately the medical team started Jamie on antibiotics and fluids to try and fight the infection. Hours passed and the doctors worked through the night to stablise his condition.

The sepsis had been caused by a urine infection. In the early hours of the morning Louise was told that Jamie was a very sick baby and needed to be intubated to help him fight the infection. He was going to be transferred to the Royal Hospital for children, Glasgow. There Jamie would receive the specialist care that he so desperately needed.

Louise told us “I couldn’t believe what was happening to my baby boy. I called by husband to come and join me in Wishaw and we watched our baby get sedated and intubated. Both of us were so frightened and scared as to what was going to happen to Jamie”.

Louise travelled with Jamie in the ScotSTAR ambulance to Glasgow and her husband followed in the car. “When we arrived we were taken into a family room while the Consultants and doctors worked on Jamie to get him comfortable and to decide what was going to happen next. That was one of the longest and hardest days of our lives” remembered Louise.

Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow

Louise explained how the Consultants and doctors explained everything to them, kept them calm and up to date.
“We sat by Jamie’s side for the full day and we were asked where we were staying that night. We hadn’t even thought about it. We’d heard of the Ronald McDonald House but never thought we would need to use its amazing services”. The family managed to get a room, “It was a huge relief as we knew we could be close to Jamie while he was in intensive care and we had a place where we could get a few hours sleep and something to eat” explained Louise.

Ronald McDonald House Glasgow

“As we checked into the House we instantly felt at ease and at home. It is fully kitted out with everything you need. It truly is a home from home. The staff were very warm and welcoming and fully understood the difficult situation we were in” recalled Louise, who then went on to say, “Our daughter Zoe was able to join us and stay in the House with us too which was a huge weight off our minds. We were able to be together as a family during the hardest time”.

Each evening the family would head over to the House for a bite to eat. “We met other families who were in the same situation as ourselves. It was nice to chat and get to know everyone but at the same time, we still had our privacy when we needed it the most”.

At last Jamie was strong enough to get moved to a ward and Louise preferred to be right by his side in the pull-down bed available in the hospital. After a week Jamie was stronger still and could go home. The root of the infection was kidney reflux which hadn’t been picked up. This is when urine flows in the wrong direction after entering the bladder. It led to the urine infection and sepsis.

How is Jamie now?

Since their visit to the hospital in June 2019, Jamie has been back for check-ups and two surgical procedures. These were to prevent any further infection and stop the reflux from happening again. He still has regular check-ups at Wishaw and Glasgow. Louise informed us “Thankfully Jamie is doing amazing and there haven’t been any further infections or complications”.

In 2020, Jamie’s sister Zoe decided to raise funds for the House. Louise told us “Zoe wanted to do something to support Ronald McDonald House Glasgow and to say a huge thank you for letting us stay when her brother was ill”. As it was during lockdown, Zoe was limited to what she could do. However, she adapted to Covid-19 restrictions and decided to have a cake sale at her front gate. The support from family, friends and neighbours was unbelievable and she raised £200!

Zoe split the money, handing in £100 cash to the House and then buying £100 worth of food and drinks for the families who were staying at the House during the pandemic.

We can’t thank Zoe enough. Zoe and her family’s support are greatly appreciated by everyone here at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow. If you are feeling inspired and want to run your own fundraising event, feel free to contact us for more information.

It has been wonderful to hear how Jamie is doing now. We wish the whole family a very happy and healthy future.

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