LITTLE Lily Chadwick owes her life to the quick-thinking actions of a Sunderland paramedic who administered a life-saving injection when she was struck by meningitis.
When John Morris responded to an emergency call to the four-year-old’s home in Fence Houses, his gut reaction was that time was of the essence.
And he was later told that had Lily not received the time-critical injection until she arrived at hospital she would in all probability have died, or at the very least, lost limbs.
Instead, she was back at nursery just over a week later, having made a full recovery.
A grateful Lily, along with mum Kimberley, 28, dad Michael, 29, and seven-year-old brother Kian, invited John back to their home to thank him for saving her life.
“I can’t thank John enough for what he did,” Kimberley said. “I can’t let myself think what could have happened, I have to stop myself and focus on other things. My daughter is alive because of John.”
My daughter is alive because of John.Lily Chadwick’s mum Kimberley
It was March 13 when Kimberley first noticed Lily was poorly
“She he was complaining of pains in her leg,” the retail worker said. “She was limping but she hadn’t fallen over or anything. When we went shopping she just wanted to be carried.
“We came back and she just tried to go to sleep. I put her in my bed as I knew she wasn’t well. She woke up with a temperature and all through the night she complained of a sore head and was being sick.”
Kimberley gave her daughter Calpol to get her temperature down and prepared to take Lily to hospital first thing.
“When I came off the phone to my mum, I released she had a few purple spots on her neck and rang and ambulance, that’s when John came.”
John, 61, said: “When I got here Lily didn’t have a temperature because she had been given Calpol, but she had other signs that made me suspect she might have meningitis. She had some pinprick marks and few blotches on her tummy.
“She had a history of stiffness and she didn’t like the light on and she had previously had a high temperature.
“I put her into the vehicle and I administered Benzylpenicillin, because the sooner you do the more effective it is.”
John, from Chester-le-Street, who has 25 years’ experience as a paramedic, was later called into the office of the paediatric consultant who treated Lily.
“He told me ‘you have certainly saved her life at worst, and definitely her limbs’,” John said. “I was absolutely shocked at that, I’ve got grandchildren myself.
“The consultant said that if I had waited until she got to the hospital it would have been too late. You don’t want to stick needles in children unnecessarily, but it was my gut-reaction at the time.”
Lily spent five days in Sunderland Royal Hospital being treated for meningococcal septicaemia.
“She has bounced back, you can’t tell she was even ill,” Kimberley added. “She has to have a hearing test, but you can tell she is completely fine.”