Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Facing Up to Our Biggest Nightmare; When Susan Hall's Young Son Was Struck Down with the Potentially Fatal Meningitis Bug She Was Forced to Contemplate Planning His Funeral. the Hairdresser Is Now Aiming to Use Pedal Power to Help Other Families Who Find Themselves in a Similar Position. MIEKA SMILES Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Facing Up to Our Biggest Nightmare; When Susan Hall's Young Son Was Struck Down with the Potentially Fatal Meningitis Bug She Was Forced to Contemplate Planning His Funeral. the Hairdresser Is Now Aiming to Use Pedal Power to Help Other Families Who Find Themselves in a Similar Position. MIEKA SMILES Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: MIEKA SMILES

IT'S the news that all parents dread. Not only were Susan Hall and her husband Harry told that their son Marshall had a life-threatening illness, they were also told he had just a 40% chance of survival.

Susan, whose family owns Reds salon - which has branches in Sunderland and East Herrington - remembers the terrifying ordeal as if it was yesterday. "Marshall was only six and he was so sick that night. I just knew there was something not quite right," she said.

"He was so tired that I left him in his school uniform and put him into our bed. He was too poorly to get changed.

"He was just floppy and looking through me. You just know when your own child is poorly and I knew that this was something different."

When Susan spotted a telltale meningitis symptom it set alarm bells ringing.

"When I took him to the toilet I lifted his shirt up and he had a mark on his tummy. I thought 'that's not normally there on him''.

"I shouted for Harry and we drove him straight to the hospital thinking that he was going to be ok.

"We were told that it was probably meningitis before they even got the tests back and they put him on antibiotics straight away.

"At lunch-time the same day we got taken into a little room and told that Marshall needed to go on to a life-support machine and that he only had a 40% chance of survival.

"When people start saying about death you start planning a funeral. I was thinking 'I'm not leaving him in the hospital or a morgue - he's coming home'.

"When somebody mentions your child dying then that's what goes through your mind. At that time I wasn't bothered about anything else, just Marshall. It was dreadful."

Remarkably, after spending less than a week in hospital, Marshall had made a full recovery from the meningococcal septicaemia strain of the disease.

"Sunderland General Hospital didn't have the facilities to look after him and so he had to be transferred to Newcastle General," said Susan, who recently won the title of North East Hairdresser of the Year.

"There he was on the life-support machine for three days and, remarkably, he slowly got better and better.

"I remember being told that he could lose a leg or an arm, but he came out of it unscathed.

"It was amazing how they looked after him there - it was like being in a five-star hotel."

Marshall is now 18 and lives with Susan, 43, Harry, 46, and his sister Amelia, 17, in Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne & Wear.

A barber for the family business, he has only a sketchy recollection of the drama.

He said: "I got in from school and we were having fish and chips for tea.

"All I can remember is lying on the settee and mum putting me into her bed. Then there are flashes of being in an ambulance and waking up in hospital. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.