A family has been left reeling with the loss of their one-year-old 'miracle boy' Blake Murrell (pictured) after he tragically died of a mystery bout of meningitis

Michelle Murrell said her ‘miracle boy’ Blake died from a mystery case of bacterial meningitis

A family has been left reeling with the loss of their one-year-old ‘miracle boy’ Blake Murrell (pictured) after he tragically died of a mystery bout of meningitis

A family has told of their grief after mistaking their one-year-old ‘miracle boy’s’ symptoms with teething issues or a daycare bug – when he was suffering from a case of bacterial meningitis.

Sydney mum Michelle Murrell, 40, noticed her one-year-old son Blake seemed a little under the weather when she picked him up from child care on July 28.

She assumed he had contracted just another everyday virus, with symptoms including a fever and some vomiting. Blake even seemed like he was bouncing back. 

However, after 10 days Blake took a turn for the worse and on August 7 was rushed to the emergency department at Campbeltown Hospital, in the city’s south-west.

His condition deteriorated – with the little boy suffering swelling to the brain – and doctors quickly approved a transfer to Sydney Children’s Hospital. 

He was placed an induced coma the next day to try and give his body a better chance to heal, but he sadly never woke up.

The heartbroken family was told Blake’s brain swelling was too severe to fix, with the one-year-old succumbing to the illness on August 16.

Michelle said she had five miscarriages before managing to get pregnant through IVF to what she and her husband called their 'miracle boy' Blake

Michelle said she had five miscarriages before managing to get pregnant through IVF to what she and her husband called their ‘miracle boy’ Blake

Michelle (left) said the family was staying strong as her other son, seven-year-old Lachlan (second from right), was seeking comfort in Blake's (second from left) toys

Michelle (left) said the family was staying strong as her other son, seven-year-old Lachlan (second from right), was seeking comfort in Blake’s (second from left) toys

Little Blake Murrell (pictured right) with his seven-year-old brother Lachlan

Little Blake Murrell (pictured right) with his seven-year-old brother Lachlan

Michelle spoke to Daily Mail Australia about what happened to Blake, who she called a ‘miracle’, because he was conceived after multiple miscarriages and failed IVF rounds.

Ms Murrell said when Blake first got sick, he was also having teething issues, leading her to believe his symptoms were a combination of things.

Never once did it cross her mind that what her son had was bacterial meningitis, she added.

‘I first noticed Blake was sick when he started having a fever but we were not worried as he had been bringing home bugs from daycare constantly,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

‘He started with a bit of a fever but he was also teething at the time with about three or four teeth coming through at once.

‘So we were keeping on top of that and he had some vomiting and fevers and that sort of thing but we weren’t overly concerned.’

Ms Murrell said over the next 10 days, Blake started to look and feel better, before going downhill again.

‘He would be all good and then suddenly be really, really lethargic, it was up and down throughout the week so I never felt the need to take him to hospital or anything, she said.

‘I’m a nurse so I just kept him hydrated and managed the fever until one night I noticed he was holding his head funny and that caught my attention.

‘He just looked really stiff and so I decided to take him to the hospital.’

Ms Murrell said doctors at Campbelltown Hospital tried to get his fluids up on August 7. 

‘He had a fever at the time and they took him straight in because he was quite dehydrated despite us keeping up his fluids,’ she said.

‘Then he started doing seizure like stuff, it was like jerkiness in his arm and his leg.

‘They then took him to do blood work and after they got the results they could see that he had quite a bad infection.

‘They covered him with four different antibiotics and I suppose meningitis was in the back of their mind but they never really gave a clear diagnosis of it at the time.’

The next day, Blake was transferred to Sydney Children’s Hospital and admitted into their ICU department.

Michelle (left) spoke to Daily Mail Australia about what happened to Blake (centre, with his brother Lachlan right), who she called a 'miracle', because he was conceived after multiple miscarriages and failed rounds of IVF

Michelle (left) spoke to Daily Mail Australia about what happened to Blake (centre, with his brother Lachlan right), who she called a ‘miracle’, because he was conceived after multiple miscarriages and failed rounds of IVF

Blake's mother Michelle Murrell, 40, said she noticed he was ill after picking him up from daycare but assumed it was just another virus but it turned out to be bacterial meningitis

Blake’s mother Michelle Murrell, 40, said she noticed he was ill after picking him up from daycare but assumed it was just another virus but it turned out to be bacterial meningitis

‘They gave him a breathing tube, sedated him and put him under, not because he was struggling to breathe but because of the swelling on his brain,’ Ms Murrell said.

That day was the last time Blake was awake.

Ms Murrell said doctors officially diagnosed him with bacterial meningitis days later and told her ‘there was nothing they could do’.

‘They said the antibiotics he had been taking had started fighting the infection as they could see that but because of the swelling to his brain, it was too much trauma and they told me there is nothing we can do,’ Ms Murrell said.

‘We were told that on the Friday and so we had our other son come in and family as well to say what we needed to say.

‘From there it was just a matter of when we were ready to make the decision to turn off his support.

‘We knew we were never going to be ready but we didn’t want to drag it out so after we all said what we needed, we let him pass.’

Blake died on August 16 and while Michelle said the family was staying strong, her other son, seven-year-old Lachlan, was seeking comfort in Blake’s toys to get through the nights.

He was taken to Campbelltown Hospital on August 7 before being transferred to Sydney Children's Hospital the following day and put into ICU (pictured is Blake with his family, including brother Lachlan and mother Michelle)

He was taken to Campbelltown Hospital on August 7 before being transferred to Sydney Children’s Hospital the following day and put into ICU (pictured is Blake with his family, including brother Lachlan and mother Michelle)

‘Lachlan is doing well during the day at school but he is just struggling at night,’ Ms Murrell said.

‘For the last few weeks he has been coming in at night and he cuddles his brothers toys, some of Blake’s cuddly toys.’

Ms Murrell said she had five miscarriages before managing to get pregnant through IVF to what she and her husband called their ‘miracle boy’. 

‘He was our little miracle, he was an IVF baby and we tried so many times,’ she said.

‘We call him our little miracle boy as we didn’t know if it would happen, it just isn’t fair. It’s just really not fair.

‘I had several miscarriages before him, Lachlan was natural but then I had multiple miscarriages and attempted IVF five times before we finally got Blake.’

Blake died on Tuesday, August 16 after doctors said the swelling on the brain was too much and told the family there is nothing they could do

Blake died on Tuesday, August 16 after doctors said the swelling on the brain was too much and told the family there is nothing they could do

Blake’s ashes have been returned to the family, which Ms Murrell said gave the family some peace.

‘It’s good to have Blake back home with us,’ she said.

‘His ashes are just in our bedroom in a little heart box, it’s like a memory box, a nice box with his stuff.

Ms Murrell said the donations from GoFundMe also helped her and the family financially through the tumultuous time.

‘I haven’t been able to go back to work yet and we wouldn’t have managed financially if it wasn’t for the outpouring of support and donations and we are truly grateful for the care and support,’ she said.

‘I don’t know what we would have done if we didn’t have that, we are just trying to move forward as best as we can.

‘I know I need to go back to work financially, I just haven’t felt able to yet.’

SIGNS OF MENINGITIS IN CHILDREN

SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN UNDER TWO

– High fever 

– Constant crying 

– Excessive sleepiness or irritability 

– Difficulty waking from sleep 

– Inactivity or sluggishness 

– Not waking to eat 

– Poor feeding 

– Vomiting 

– A bulge in the soft spot on top of a baby’s head (fontanel) 

– Stiffness in the body and neck 

 

 SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN OVER TWO 

– Sudden high fever

– Stiff neck

– Severe headache that seems different from normal

– Headache with nausea or vomiting

– Confusion or difficulty concentrating

– Seizures

– Sleepiness or difficulty waking

– Sensitivity to light

– No appetite or thirst

– Skin rash 

 

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