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Canterbury baby Beverley Gasking suffered stroke after contracting measles

09 May 2013
by Jamie Bullen

Mick and Jean Gasking with their daughter Beverley

The couple, of Shalloak Road, Broad Oak, spoke this week about their only daughter Beverley, who was diagnosed with measles when she was just 20 months old.

Shortly afterwards she suffered a stroke which paralysed the left side of her body.

Her parents said it was “touch and go” as to whether Beverley would survive as she was placed on life support for four days.

Her mum Jean, 69, recalled the anxious moments before her daughter was rushed to hospital in a GP’s car after a cough and high temperature took a disastrous turn for the worse.

She said: “Beverley had been suffering from a high temperature for a while, but as soon as the doctor saw her he said ‘follow me to the hospital’.

“He knew straight away it was measles and the spots began to appear. We got in his car and went straight to A&E.

“There wasn’t any information on measles like you have now. You can only go on the advice of the doctor.

“We were advised not to get Beverley vaccinated because of her high temperature, so we didn’t.

“I was so pleased to see people queuing up to have their children vaccinated.

“It brought the memories flooding back to us.

"We would encourage all parents to get their children vaccinated. It could prove so vital."

Dad Mick, 68, said: “We don’t apportion blame to anyone. We were only young ourselves and we didn’t know better.

“It was just unfortunate, and more unfortunate for Bev.

“We were told she may never be able to walk, but we never believed it.

“I remember Jean spent hours with her on the floor learning how to walk.

“We brought her a bike and she used to go everywhere in it. At times it has been difficult but we wouldn’t change one moment and she is now getting much better.”

Despite her debilitating illness, Beverley, 48, has remained active, working a couple of hours a week at Brewers on the Wincheap Industrial Estate.

Families across the Canterbury district and Faversham have been urged to vaccinate their children who missed out on the measles jab as part of a campaign to immunise youngsters against the disease.

GPs are contacting parents of patients aged 10 to 16 whose records show they have missed out on the MMR vaccinations against measles, mumps and rubella.

It follows a campaign to immunise one million children and teenagers against the disease after a national increase in measles cases.

Dr Mark Jones, chairman of the NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Measles is not a mild illness and is extremely infectious.

“It is very unpleasant and can lead to children becoming very seriously ill and, in very rare cases, to their death.

Dr Mark Jones

“Children, teenagers and young adults who have not been vaccinated at all against MMR should urgently seek at least one dose which will give them 95% protection against measles.

“A second dose is then needed for almost complete protection.

“Although GPs will be contacting families direct, I would urge any parents who think their child may not have had both vaccinations to check their red book, which has the child’s vaccination record or, if they cannot find that, to contact their GP practice.

“Now is the time to catch up on missed vaccinations and ensure their children are protected now and into the future. I would also urge all parents of young children, who are being invited for their routine vaccinations, to make sure they take up the offer.

“More than 100 children in England have been hospitalised with measles so far this year – make sure you give your child the very best protection you can.”


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