Patient Story -

Bailey was on the brink of losing his life

At just four years old, Bailey was on the brink of death after falling violently ill with life-threatening bacterial meningitis. Bailey was urgently airlifted to emergency care, and thanks to the generosity of CareFlight donors, little Bailey is alive today.

When Michelle Bloomer kissed her four-year-old son at her local hospital in January 2012 she didn’t know if it was a last goodbye. Bailey was about to be rushed to Brisbane in CareFlight’s rescue helicopter – a last chance to get the specialist care he needed to save his life.

In less than 12 hours Bailey had gone from a happy, active little boy to a child on the brink of losing his life. The only initial indication that he was unwell was ongoing tiredness.

“But then he woke up early one morning with a sore ear and didn’t want to stay in his own bed, which was really unusual. Bailey was also cranky and irritable with his brothers, which was also unlike him. He was hot to the touch and sleepy,” Michelle recalls.

That Sunday Michelle was to make a decision that probably helped save his life – she took him to the nearest hospital. Tests showed something wasn’t right. Originally it was thought to be appendicitis, but blood work was showing some type of infection – pneumonia or meningitis.

“To be honest I was more worried about the pneumonia – if I’d known how serious meningitis was I would have freaked out,” Michelle said.

“Not long after that he went downhill really quickly – he had meningitis.”

Meningitis is a condition when the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord become inflamed, infected by bacteria or viruses. It can be deadly.

Little Bailey was exhibiting the classic signs. He was incoherent, unable to determine where he was, grinding his teeth and stumbling when walking to the bathroom.

“He sat up, mumbled something, rolled his eyes and started convulsing,” Michelle recalls.

“People came running. It happened all at once. They pulled me aside and told me he’s critically ill and get your family to come up because we don’t think he’s going to make it."

"It was this awful dream that I couldn’t wake up from.”

With Bailey critically ill and needing urgent high-level care, CareFlight was called in to fly him to a specialist hospital.             

“Bailey would never have made it by road, he needed to get there quicker. While it was his only chance, they said he may not survive the flight,” she said.

The family drove to hospital, wanting but dreading a phone call from the helicopter crew.

“They were great. They rang us as soon as they landed to say that he was alive.”

It has been four years since Bailey conquered this battle, but the now nine-year-old hasn’t forgotten his lifesaving trip in the helicopter with the doctor and crew.

“I remember that it was very loud. They helped me. They held my hand. I’m happy for the crew. I’m happy for the doctor who saved my life,” the grade four student said.

CareFlight’s lifesaving work is only made possible through the generosity of the community. Rapid medical intervention can truly be the difference between life and death for people just like Bailey, please consider making a donation to show your support.