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Baby Gussie thriving after surviving life-threatening infection

Baby Gussie will celebrate his first birthday in August – a milestone his Mum thinks he would not have made if it wasn’t for the care of the paediatric team at Frankston Hospital.

“Gussie was born weighing 5.14 pounds, which is small, but we took him home and he was a really good baby,” recalls Mum Tenille.

“He was feeding great, he cried and wriggled around, but he just wasn’t putting on weight.”

After a few weigh-ins with the local Child Maternal Health Nurse found Gussie still wasn’t gaining weight, Tenille was advised to take her 9 day old baby straight to the Emergency Department.

“I went to Emergency and I and was sitting on the bed with the bub while the doctors tried to work out why he wasn’t putting on weight,” says Tenille.

“He was feeding ok and didn’t have a temperature. He was a funny colour but because his Dad has bright red hair I wasn’t expecting him to have a tan.”

“Everyone was asking all of these questions and then I said his nappy’s smelt funny. They just looked at me and then they put a needle straight into his tummy to get urine out of his bladder. They said he had an infection and started him on antibiotics straight away.”

More tests and a lumber puncture confirmed Gussie had bacterial meningitis and needed urgent treatment to stop the infection.

“I kept asking the staff is my baby going to die? What do I do?” says Tenille.

“They said he is very sick but we’ve got him and we’ll take care of him, they were so reassuring. I should have been sitting in the corner crying as they put a drip in my baby’s hand as he was just so tiny, but everyone was so supportive – they were more taking care of me!”

Gussie had 24 days of intravenous antibiotics on the Children and Adolescent Ward at Frankston Hospital.

“I stayed every night in the little bed next to him in the cot,” recalls Tenille.

“We had to take it day by day we just didn’t know. Then all of a sudden he got these chubby cheeks and he turned this beautiful pink colour and he was this totally different baby.”

The Mt Martha Mum of three is so thankful for the care her family received from Frankston Hospital she is planning to host a fundraiser for Gussie’s First Birthday, where guests will be asked to make a donation to the hospital in lieu of gifts.

“We’re so lucky that he is totally fine. He could have had hearing loss but he’s had a hearing test and he passed. He could have had developmental delays but he’s walking around holding onto furniture now, he’s just so normal.”

“I feel like he’s really grateful to be alive that every day he is just so happy, he smiles at everyone and laughs so much.”

“I can’t believe I was in the situation where I was wondering whether I would ever be able to take my baby home.”

“I feel so lucky that I live where I live and I got that service because there’s a lot of places in the world that you wouldn’t get anything like that and it’s really quite scary.” Tenille said.

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Jessica Mills