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Girl who survived the ‘worst meningitis case’ seen in 25 years

A baby who survived the ‘worst meningitis case’ seen in 25 years is set to return home after having all four of her limbs amputated.

Kia Gott is improving day by day in the high dependency unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary after contracting the killer disease.

The one-year-old has been in hospital since September and her family were at one point sent a letter by medics who said they were confident she was going to die.

But hopes were raised when a consultant told them earlier this year that Kia would be allowed home, which her parents say ‘felt like we won the lottery’.

Following a meeting with doctors at the hospital last week, the family have now been given a date for Kia to return home on a day release basis. 

If it goes well, the family can bring her home more regularly, according to Kia’s father Paul Gott, a self-employed window fitter.

Kia Gott is improving day by day in the high dependency unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary after contracting the killer disease (pictured in hospital)

Mr Gott, 35, said: ‘Once she has been home once and it goes okay we can have her back pretty much everyday.

‘She is doing a lot better, things went a bit backwards when she moved to BRI but she has come back around now.

‘She is prone to epilepsy now so she is having a drug for that, so that is the main thing now.

‘She is definitely not deaf, but as Kia is being brought off the drugs it is becoming apparent she is probably blind and brain damaged, and won’t be able to move by herself.

‘It is heart-breaking but she is still breathing which is the main thing, and now its just going to be about giving her the best quality of life we can.’

Kia’s battle

Mr Gott discovered a rash on his daughter’s face, neck and chest when she became ill in September last year.

He noticed the discolouring of his daughter’s skin after going to check on her in the middle of the night.

Paramedics arrived but her veins had collapsed, so they had to drill into her tiny shin to give her emergency drugs.

The one-year-old has been in hospital since September and her family were at one point sent a letter by medics who said they were confident she was going to die

The one-year-old has been in hospital since September and her family were at one point sent a letter by medics who said they were confident she was going to die

But hopes were raised when a consultant told them earlier this year that Kia (pictured) would be allowed home, which her parents say 'felt like we won the lottery'

But hopes were raised when a consultant told them earlier this year that Kia (pictured) would be allowed home, which her parents say ‘felt like we won the lottery’

Following a meeting with doctors at the hospital last week, the family have now been given a date for Kia to return home on a day release basis (pictured are Kia's parents Vikki Mitchell, 30, and Paul Gott, 35)

Following a meeting with doctors at the hospital last week, the family have now been given a date for Kia to return home on a day release basis (pictured are Kia’s parents Vikki Mitchell, 30, and Paul Gott, 35)

Kia was then rushed to Bradford Royal Infirmary where medics told her family it was meningitis and she was not likely to survive.

Specialists told the family it was the worst case of meningitis C septicaemia they had dealt with for a quarter of a century.

Kia contracted the condition before she could receive the Men C vaccine, which is administered to infants at about 12 months old.

The Government stopped the vaccination for three-month-old babies last year. Instead, it was decided that the vaccine would be given at 12 months.   

Kia’s parents, Mr Gott and his wife Vikki Mitchell, 30, began campaigning for the vaccination age to be reconsidered and started an online petition aimed at forcing discussion in Parliament in December. 

Why was the jab cut? 

According to the Meningitis Research Foundation, one of the reasons the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation, which advises the Government, decided to withdraw the meningitis C vaccine at 12 weeks was because incident rates had dropped significantly, and it was believed that the new meningitis B jab, a breakthrough vaccine, would also offer some protection against meningitis C, too.

Another factor was the introduction in September 2015 of another meningitis vaccine, known as ACWY and given to children at the age of 14, which would help build ‘herd immunity’ that would also protect babies and young children.   

If it goes well, the family can bring her home more regularly, according to Kia's father Paul Gott (pictured), a self-employed window fitter

If it goes well, the family can bring her home more regularly, according to Kia’s father Paul Gott (pictured), a self-employed window fitter

Kia (pictured) contracted the condition before she could receive the Men C vaccine, which is administered to infants at about 12 months old

Kia (pictured) contracted the condition before she could receive the Men C vaccine, which is administered to infants at about 12 months old

The number of infants contracting meningitis C remains low, but it has risen since the vaccine at that age was withdrawn.   

BE WISE TO THE SYMPTOMS OF DEADLY MENINGITIS 

Bacterial meningitis is very serious and can cause death in as little as a few hours.

Meningitis vaccines offer excellent protection, but they are not yet available for all forms. 

Symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia include:

  • Fever and/or vomiting 
  • Severe headache 
  • Limb, joint or muscle pain 
  • Cold hands and feet and or shivering 
  • Pale or mottled skin 
  • Breathing fast or feeling breathless 
  • A rash anywhere on the body 
  • A stiff neck – less common in young children 
  • A dislike of bright lights – less common in young children 
  • Very sleepy, vacant, or difficult to wake 
  • Confused or delirious 
  • Seizures or fits may be seen 

Source: Meningitis Research Foundation 

Statistics released by Public Health England show that in 2015-16, two children up to the age of five contracted the disease; in the year 2016-17, the figure had risen to six. In babies up to 12 months, the figure rose from one case in 2015-16 to four in 2016-17.

Kia’s crushed parents, from Wyke, West Yorkshire, were told the devastating news by doctors that all four limbs would have to be removed if she was to survive.

The family have since had to move into a larger house in order to take Kia home.

But the move has put further stress on the parents and their two other children, elder brother Kayden and sister Elsie.

Moving into a new house 

He added: ‘We’ve been given a new house by Bradford Council but it was a bit rundown, so we’ve been doing a lot of work.

‘It’s been like DIY SOS and we’ve had loads of help from everyone.

‘We’re going to need an extension because we will need a bedroom downstairs because we will have to sleep with her.

‘It is going to be life-changing, it already has been life-changing, and it is going to be emotional when she comes home because it has been a long time since she first went in.’

Well-wishers have donated more than £36,000 to the family through a crowdfunding page to support the family in the future.

Kia's parents began campaigning for the vaccination age to be reconsidered and started an online petition aimed at forcing discussion in Parliament in December (pictured in hospital)

Kia’s parents began campaigning for the vaccination age to be reconsidered and started an online petition aimed at forcing discussion in Parliament in December (pictured in hospital)

Kia's crushed parents, from Wyke, West Yorkshire, were told the devastating news by doctors that all four limbs would have to be removed if she was to survive (pictured in hospital)

Kia’s crushed parents, from Wyke, West Yorkshire, were told the devastating news by doctors that all four limbs would have to be removed if she was to survive (pictured in hospital)

It will be the first time Kia has been home since she was first admitted in September last year when she was ten months old. 

A letter from the Countess of Wessex 

Sophie Countess of Wessex, married to Prince Edward and patron of Meningitis Now, personally wrote to Kia’s family in November to tell them she is ‘completely heartbroken’. 

She said: ‘I wanted to write to you after learning about your beautiful baby daughter, Kia.

‘I am completely heartbroken and devastated by Kia’s prognosis and can’t begin to imagine how you are feeling at this impossibly difficult time. I am so very sorry for what you are going through. 

‘I know words are inconsequential but I felt compelled to reach out. I wish you peace, strength and hope as Kia rebuilds her strength and I send my love to your family.’  

It will be the first time Kia (pictured) has been home since she was first admitted in September last year when she was ten months old

It will be the first time Kia (pictured) has been home since she was first admitted in September last year when she was ten months old

Sophie Countess of Wessex, married to Prince Edward and patron of Meningitis Now, personally wrote to Kia's family in November to tell them she is 'completely heartbroken' (Kia's siblings, Shauna, Kayden, Mcenzie, Elsie and Paul kept a bedside vigil for the ill youngster)

Sophie Countess of Wessex, married to Prince Edward and patron of Meningitis Now, personally wrote to Kia’s family in November to tell them she is ‘completely heartbroken’ (Kia’s siblings, Shauna, Kayden, Mcenzie, Elsie and Paul kept a bedside vigil for the ill youngster)



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