‘For Jeremy Hunt to say to look online while your child is dying in front of you is barbaric’ – Stotfold mum of boy left severely disabled by meningitis hits outs

Lisa Zsentko with her son Stone Josephs 4

Lisa Zsentko with her son Stone Josephs 4 - Credit: Archant

The mother of a boy left severely disabled after contracting meningitis has condemned health secretary Jeremy Hunt for suggesting parents should look online to diagnose a rash.

When Lisa Zsentko took her 11-month-old son Stone to the doctor one day in October 2012, she was told he had a virus and to go home. By the next morning he was in hospital fighting for his life.

Stone, now four, had contracted pneumococcal meningitis, which has left him blind and severely brain damaged and caused spastic quadraplegia and cerebral palsy.

Lisa, of Kingsway in Stotfold, said: “It’s ruined all our lives. We can’t do all the normal things. Even going shopping or going to the park, I have to think about Stone’s feeds and, if it’s too cold or windy, we can’t go.

“He has a really low immune system and we have been told not to expect him to make it to a teenager. We have to take each day at a time.”


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Lisa is furious that Mr Hunt has told parents to look online to determine whether a rash their child has is serious or not, particularly given the difficulty even people with medical backgrounds can have in diagnosing the killer condition.

The mother of six said: “Meningitis can kill you in four hours, so to say you should look on the internet while your child is dying in front of you is barbaric.

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“He’s putting lots of people at risk and it’s infuriating. It’s left me feeling very angry and I worry for other children.”

Thomas Davis from charity Meningitis Now said: “The rash can be one of the last symptoms to develop, so it is essential people seek urgent medical help, not resort to Google.”

Lisa added: “Our lives are in tatters.

“We often feel like we have lost Stone and been left with a shell. Other days I pray to God for letting me keep my darling boy and hope that something may change, then I wonder if I’m being selfish, because what life will he have now?”

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