Last week Elisha Robinson and Jai Sheridan were living the dream on a family holiday in Thailand with their little girl Lilliana.
In a matter of days their picture perfect holiday turned into every parent’s worst nightmare.
Lilliana fell seriously ill at a Phuket beach resort. Doctors confirmed the eight-month-old baby had meningococcal and septicemia (blood poisoning).
Earlier this week Elisha shared the devastating news on Facebook, begging the public for help to keep her little girl alive. In a matter of days hundreds of Aussies have rallied around the baby – affectionately known as Lilli – raising over $17,000 to help get Lilli home.
Now, the loving Gold Coast mum has returned to Facebook to thank the public and share an update on her little girl. But it’s not quite the fairytale ending we’re all hoping for. You see, the infection has taken hold of Lilli’s legs. And doctors have had to do some serious surgery, cutting away the infected tissue to save this precious baby’s limbs.
This is what meningococcal looks like
In addition to the update, Elisha also shared a photo of her daughter. Dressed in nothing but a nappy, Lilli’s legs are discoloured and infected with rotting skin from the disease and she is covered in bandages and cords.
Lilli’s meningococcal battle ahead
Since the initial diagnosis of meningococcal, Lilli’s survival rate has increased. She was flown to a special children’s hospital in Bangkok. She is now receiving the care she needs, after the family’s travel insurance company agreed to foot the bill.
“Lilli had surgery done to her right leg yesterday where they cut off the dead skin that is infected and are happy that today the blood is flowing out of the wound. For now Lilli is overcoming the diseases of meningococcal and septicemia and she will still be on antibiotics for another ten days for those infections,” Elisha shared, after her sick daughter was flown to Bangkok.
Be brave, baby girl
Elisha says doctors are carefully monitoring Lilli’s fingers to make sure they infection doesn’t spread to her hands.
“Lilli is receiving the best possible care she can get here in Semitivej Srinakarin Children’s Hospital in Bangkok. She has her own nurse with an Australian nurse arriving at 2am tomorrow morning which will be an amazing comfort to us also,” she says.
“Please keep up positive thoughts for our baby girl’s full recovery and positive outcome with her operation this afternoon.”
But even through all the pain, baby Lilli managed to give her doting parents her first smile in days. “My first smile from my girl to her mummy in nearly a week. Oh baby…. you are my world,” Elisha shared on Facebook.
Red Cross appeal to save Lilli
At the beginning of the week Elisha explained that Lilli desperately needed O negative blood to keep her alive. However, due to the Thai rules about blood donation, Elisha was unable to donate her own blood.
The local Red Cross blood service also put out an urgent appeal for blood donors to save Lilli’s life. And in a beautiful gesture of kindness, more than 1000 people volunteered.
Lilli has since received plasma to level out her bloods and help heal her body. It would appear little Lilli is on her way to a recovery, thank goodness!
For now they will keep a close eye on the wounds and may want to cut a little more out as blood is getting to one minor area . Their main concern now is further infection in the wounds but we are very confident they will do everything to stop this from happening.”
As a parent, images like this are heartbreaking to see. No one wants to see their baby like this. For Elisha, Jai and Lilli, it’s certainly been a hell of a week. But fingers crossed Lilli will return home to Australia soon.
A new fundraiser- Helping Lilli Heal – has been set up to help the family pay for medical costs and other expenses. It has already raised almost $30,000. A previous Go Fund Me page to raise money for a medical evacuation flight to Australia stopped accepting donations after their travel insurer agreed to cover the bill.
The symptoms of meningococcal disease
Early recognition and treatment of meningococcal disease offers the best chance of recovery. As such, it’s vital that parents are aware of the potential signs.
Early symptoms can include:
- High fever
- Refusal to eat
- Difficulty waking or extreme tiredness
- High-pitched or moaning cry
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Pale, grey or blotchy skin
- Sensitivity to light
- Cold hands and feet
- In infants, a bulging fontanelle (the soft spot on top of the head)
For more information about meningococcal and what to do if it strikes your child, take a look at our previous article about meningococcal and what parents need to know.