SO CLOSE: Myles Martin, who was diagnosed with meningococcal, with his younger brother Blake.
SO CLOSE: Myles Martin, who was diagnosed with meningococcal, with his younger brother Blake. Matt Taylor GLA271117SICK

'His lips were blue': Boy, 4, 'lucky' to be alive

IT WAS a normal Halloween for the Martin family.

Four-year-old Myles was a bit off-colour, quieter than normal and vomiting that night but parents Cindy and Ryan thought he'd probably overdosed on lollies.

However, by early the next morning Myles was much worse.

"We couldn't shake the fever," Mrs Martin said.

From about 4am onwards, Myles was shivering and shaking.

"He was very pale, staring off into the distance. The shaking was the worst thing," Mrs Martin said.

It was at that point the Tannum Sands couple decided to take him to Gladstone Hospital.

After examining Myles, the hospital staff initially thought he had a virus and suggested he'd be better off at home.

"But I said no, and that's when the pediatrician came in.

"That's when everything went from just a visit to the hospital to extreme," Mrs Martin said.

"His lips were going blue, I knew there was something seriously wrong with him," she said.

Hospital staff tried to put an IV into Myles' arm and he didn't even move.

"They tried multiple times and he wasn't responding," Cindy said.

She believes it was at this point hospital staff diagnosed Myles with meningococcal meningitis.

The Gladstone staff held a conference with Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital.

"That's when they called the helicopter," Cindy said.

Myles was choppered to Brisbane at about 6pm on November 1.

Once he got to Lady Cilento, Cindy said, doctors performed a spinal tap on him, a procedure that couldn't be performed in Gladstone.

"He didn't even flinch for that. That's when they found out it was bacterial meningitis - meningococcal meningitis," Mrs Martin said.

If he'd been sent home, Mrs Martin said, "I don't think he would be here".

"It was very scary, but we caught it.

"We were very lucky."

Mrs Martin wanted other parents to learn from their experience.

"Trust your instincts, if you feel your kid's not right, if you believe the doctors aren't listening to you, call Ryan's Rule," she said.

Mrs Martin said looking back, Myles did have classic meningococcal symptoms the day before: he had a stiff neck, and he was also sensitive to light.

Queensland Health has recorded five cases of meningococcal this year in Central Queensland.

For more information on meningococcal, how to prevent it and what symptoms to look for, go to: www.meningococcal.