Toddler dies after meningitis is mistaken for daycare bug

Parents are mourning the loss of their toddler who died after suffering through months of a serious infection that had been wrongly assumed to be “just another daycare bug”.

One-year-old Blake Murrell died on August 16 – two days after his parents Michelle and John-Paul Murrell were told he had suffered too much brain damage caused by meningitis.

Just a few weeks earlier, Blake had been displaying typical cold symptoms like a snotty nose and mild temperature, but his parents didn’t think too much of it.

Within the next fortnight however, Blake was vomiting, lethargic, not eating and holding his head differently, so on August 7, was taken to Campbelltown Hospital, in Sydney’s southwest.

He was swiftly admitted to the emergency department, and within 12 hours was being transferred to Sydney Children’s Hospital with his condition worsening by the hour.

Blake’s temperature had skyrocketed and he had begun suffering seizures, with doctors having to insert a feeding tube in the ambulance.

His parents and older brother Lachlan, 7, never saw him awake again.

Doctors told the family Blake had suffered too much damage and it was “too late” to save him. They agreed to turn his life support off after two painful days of goodbyes.

“At that point, they said there was too much damage and he wouldn’t get better. [Doctors] said although he fought the infection it’s too late now,” his mum told Yahoo News.

“We knew we’d never be ready but we also knew we didn’t want to drag it out,” she added.

Ms Murrell said she never thought she would ever have to say goodbye to one of her children.

“It was awful, I was numb. It’s not the thing I thought we’d ever be doing,” she said.

The couple persisted through four rounds of IVF before conceiving Blake on their fifth attempt, having suffered five miscarriages following the birth of Lachlan.

Losing Blake had been a “living nightmare”, Ms Murrell said.

A GoFundMe page has been established for the family, with Ms Murrell not being paid for leave from her job as a healthcare worker.

“We have been living through a nightmare with the loss of our beautiful Blake. It still does not feel real, I’m not sure if it ever will. Taking each day at a time as we navigate this new reality and life without him here,” she wrote to the page in early October.

“We miss him so much. JP, Lachlan and I are spending time together as a family and just trying to move forward.”

She said Lachlan had been back into his school routine since his brother’s death however had struggled at times, particularly at night time.

“I’ve not yet felt strong enough to return to work, I suppose that will come in time. I am however trying to stay busy as the distraction helps.”

While the fundraising goal has been set at $30,000, the organiser is now hoping to raise double the amount to allow the family as much time as they need.

Money donated so far has been supporting the family with their living expenses.

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