An 11-year-old British girl lost both legs after doctors diagnosed her meningitis as a "belly bug," the Sun recently reported.
In June of 2016, the then-7-year-old Brogan-Lei Partridge made a family outing to Cornwall beach, a county on the southwestern tip of England, when she had seizures of vomiting. Her parents, Aimee and Craig Partridge, initially asked the child to rest, but later brought it to a hospital as their symptoms progressed.
"She did not look like herself," said Aimee Partridge of the Sun. "She had a sleepless night and had to vomit. We brought her to [accident and emergency department] but they sent us home and said she only had a belly bug."
However, hours later, she said that the mother of four children noticed what was bruising on her child's legs.
"I did not know the symptoms of meningitis at the time," said Partridge. "But within three hours of leaving A & E, she was brought back after she had a rash, and when we returned, the doctors confirmed our worst fears."
Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes that cover the skin of the brain and the spinal cord, according to the Centers for the Control and Prevention of Diseases. In Brogan-Lei, the 7-year-old suffered from meningitis B, a bacterial infection that can lead to high fever, stiff neck, vomiting, headache and a purple rash.
According to the child's mother, Brogan-Lei first had her left foot amputated due to blood poisoning caused by large amounts of bacteria entering the bloodstream. The girl later had to have her right foot amputated.
Although Brogan-Lei initially had a prosthesis, she continued to live in pain, her mother said. At that point, the child's parents made the decision to amputate their legs.
"When we first found out she was losing her legs, we thought there was absolutely no way that could happen," said Partridge, who admitted she initially had problems diagnosing Brogan-Lei's rashes , "I did not want my little girl to lose her legs, but it was the only option."
In the years since the operation, Brogan-Lei has come to terms with her new reality, Partridge said. The mother now tells her daughter's story, hoping to educate other parents about the signs of meningitis.
"She was completely unaware that she was being treated so heavily with medications at the time," Partridge said of her daughter. "Her education has suffered, but now she's eleven, she's gotten really used to everything, she's always good, and she's determined to regain her full independence."