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Meningitis girl fell ill in Yarmouth

PUBLISHED: 09:24 19 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:46 30 June 2010

A little girl who lost both her lower legs to meningitis is carrying on with business as usual, just days after being released from hospital.

Six-year-old Victoria Watson was on holiday with her aunt and brother in Great Yarmouth in October last year when she began to feel ill and tired.

A little girl who lost both her lower legs to meningitis is carrying on with business as usual, just days after being released from hospital.

Six-year-old Victoria Watson was on holiday with her aunt and brother in Great Yarmouth in October last year when she began to feel ill and tired. As her symptoms worsened she was rushed to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge where she fell into a coma and diagnosed with type B meningitis.

She was on a ventilator for more than two weeks as her body covered with lesions and her little legs blackened. Although she eventually came round and began to sit up and speak, she remained seriously ill and in November last year had her lower legs amputated below the knee. She is now also left with scars across her body and, although previously right-handed, cannot straighten her right fingers and so uses her left hand to write and draw.

Her mother, Donna Watson, 28, said: “The doctors said she was very poorly and told us we would be lucky if she made it through the first few hours. We were told she wasn't going to make it.

“It was so scary and frightening but there was nothing they could do and they said they would have to switch off her ventilator.

“We went back the next day though and she was awake; it was absolutely shocking and from then she progressed really well. From day one we knew her legs were getting worse though so we were preparing ourselves, but it didn't really hit us until it actually happened.”

But the little girl was not about to let her illness get the better of her. Despite only leaving hospital a week ago, she has adapted to her new life remarkably. The family, from Queensway in Thetford, are currently staying with Victoria's grandparents, Monica and Peter Farman, in The Street, Eriswell, but Victoria is due to return to school, Queensway Infant and Junior, after half-term and has already returned to her jujitsu class where she was greeted with an emotional welcome.

Mrs Watson said her daughter was quite happy to scramble up and down the stairs and was able to move around the house on her own.

“It was so difficult to explain to her about her legs and she wanted her dad to go back and get them,” she said. “We're all doing pretty well now though and we're just grateful she's alive.”

The family, also made up of dad Peter, 33, and nine-year-old Leon, seven-year-old Kieran and three-year-old Oliver, will move back to their home when it has been adapted with a ramp leading to the front door, steps in the bathroom and a rail around the toilet.

Victoria, who so far has refused artificial limbs because she is frightened of them, and leaves the house in a wheelchair, will also attend regular check-ups and physiotherapy sessions at Addenbrooke's for the foreseeable future.

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