Coast toddler in induced coma fighting killer meningococcal

LITTLE Finn Smith is fighting for his life in Royal Brisbane Children's Hospital after being diagnosed with the deadly bacterial meningococcal on Friday.

The Pacific Paradise toddler is in an induced coma and his parents Sarah and Jason are maintaining a bedside vigil.

Mrs Smith has urged all parents to be aware of the symptoms.


The disease moved so quickly through Finn's body that a matter of an hour was the difference between life and death.

Parents at Finn's child care centre, the Good Start Early Learning Centre at Pacific Paradise, have been informed by Queensland Health of his illness.

They have been offered antibiotics as a prevention.

Meningococcal is contagious, but Dr Andrew Langley, of the Sunshine Coast Public Health Unit, said it was rare to see a second case in a child care centre.

"Children and staff in child care centres with close and prolonged contact to a person with meningococcal disease are identified and provided with clearance antibiotics to prevent transmission," he said.

Mrs Smith said 13-month-old Finn had flu symptoms on Thursday night.

He appeared well enough on Friday for the family to continue with a planned trip to Brisbane.

A decision to stop off at Redcliffe saved Finn's life.

Finn Smith is in Royal Brisbane Children’s Hospital fighting the deadly meningococcal disease.
Finn Smith is in Royal Brisbane Children’s Hospital fighting the deadly meningococcal disease. CONTRIBUTED

It was there that Mrs Smith noticed "small spots" on his body. The pathology lab employee realised something was seriously wrong.

"We went into the emergency at Redcliffe and this saved his life," Mrs Smith said.

"Within an hour, he had blood coming out of his ears and nose."

Mrs Smith said the spread of the disease had stopped, but Finn still had a long way to go.

"He is in an induced coma on high morphine," she said.

"They have achieved keeping his lungs pumping and have killed the infection.

"It's the repercussions now."

Finn has a high risk of losing his hands and feet.

"His little hands and feet are not looking so good," Mrs Smith said.

"Once his body has started recovering he will need skin grafts.

"His little hands and feet are all black."

Mrs Smith said that as soon as tiny bruises were noticed, quick action was needed.

"The bruises are a little smaller than a nail on a pinkie," she said.

"But they grow and expand quickly."

Dr Langley said this was the fourth case of meningococcal on the Sunshine Coast this year.

A total of 28 cases have been reported in Queensland in 2013.




  • Children under the age of five are most at risk
  • Winter and early spring are highest risk times
  • It is passed through saliva, through sneezing, coughing, kissing and sharing food and drink
  • Symptoms include fever with cold hands and feet, backache, stiff or painful neck, a rash which may start as spots then develops into distinctive purple bruising

Topics:  finn smith infection meningococcal royal brisbane children's hospital

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