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Family's dramatic dash through Shropshire flooding to save young son's life

By Nick Humphreys | Oswestry | Health | Published:

A boy who nearly died from meningitis had to be rushed over land and water to get the hospital treatment he desperately needed amid the February flooding disaster.

Parker Brownfield, who is 18 months old, with mother and father Becky and Ryan

Little Parker Brownfield, 18 months, fell ill at the beginning of the year and was so poorly that at one stage, mum Becky and dad Ryan were told to "prepare for the worst".

Thankfully, Parker battled back and is on the mend, but still has a long way to go.

Getting the youngster to hospital in the first place proved a nightmare for the family, who were blocked in by floods at there home in Criggion, near Llanymynech.

Emergency services had to take Parker by boat on his journey to hospital

Emergency service co-ordinators tried to get an air ambulance to take him to hospital after Shropdoc medics had grave concerns, but there was nowhere close enough to land. The fire service sent a boat and took Parker beyond the floods, before he was taken to Princess Royal Hospital in Telford via land ambulance for treatment.

Becky and Ryan had to wade through the water to carry him to the boat through a hail storm, but the ordeal of simply getting to hospital was just the beginning for Parker.

Becky said: "On the second day he started to have seizures. These seizures were long, aggressive and really hard to get under control. It was terrifying to watch him go through them and we felt completely helpless. The doctors suspected Parker had pneumococcal meningitis. While we waited for blood test results and a lumbar puncher Parker went in for an MRI.

A boat was brought in to take Parker across the water

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"We waited just outside the viewing window and watched the doctors reactions to the MRI images.

"The doctor sat us down and explained that the whole of Parker's right side of his brain along with a small part of his left side had been attacked by the meningitis infection. We didn't know what Parker was going to be like when he woke up, when he would wake or infact if.

"The doctors sat us down and said you need to prepare for the worst. We didn't think he was going to wake up. We had to get the family in to say goodbye."

Parker Brownfield in his hospital bed

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But Parker did wake up around a week later, though the illness had taken its toll on his body.

"He was really weak and it was obvious early on that the meningitis had left him with life changing effects," said Becky.

"Parker has come so far in the last six months and, with relentless physiotherapy, he has relearnt to swallow, eat, sit, roll over, commando crawl, kneel and stand aided.

"He still doesn't have use of his left arm and isn't able to walk. We don't know what other obstacles Parker will face in the future, we just feel incredibly lucky to still have him."

Parker Brownfield has seen more drama in 18 months than most of us ever will

During the coronavirus lockdown, Becky and Ryan have been furloughed, which has given them lots of time to help Parker with his physiotherapy. But to keep improving, the youngster will need professional sessions as well as hydrotherapy and neuro-development work. His family is appealing for donations to help fund his recovery. So far more than £2,400 has been pledged.

Becky added: "We want to give Parker every opportunity to get the therapy he needs to help him recover as much as possible. Going from seeing him running around with his friends to now not being able to absolutely breaks our heart.

Parker back home

"We would love nothing more than to be able to fund it all ourselves but with already funding Parkers physio equipment, neuro-development appointments with Snowdrop in Devon, hydrotherapy and weekly physio appointments, it's not something we would be able to do straight away."

To donate to Parker's cause, visit uk.gofundme.com/f/walking-together-for-parker

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Shrewsbury.

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