A mother has vowed she will never visit a hospital again after contracting meningitis during childbirth.

Heartbreak - Marie Brosnan hugs baby Joshua. Picture: LUAN MARSHALL 8EF3D4

Marie Brosnan became infected after giving birth to her son Joshua by caesarean section at Basildon Hospital last Thursday.

The 21-year-old, of Stour Road, Chadwell St Mary, developed a rash the following day, and was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis on Sunday and put on a course of antibiotics.

Her partner, Mark Clitheroe, sister Louise and Marie say they believe the disease was picked up from an epidural needle.

However, Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals NHS Trust has stressed staff would reject any instrument if there was any indication it had been exposed to contamination.

It also said there was very little chance the infection could be transmitted to other patients.

Marie said: "It's the kind of experience that makes me never want to go into a hospital ever again. It has put me off having any more kids as well."

Amanda Hallums, director of nursing, said: "Basildon's Maternity Unit has never had a case of meningitis following an epidural or spinal anaesthesia.

"Women coming into the unit should not be concerned, it is extremely rare. In this case, the cause has not been identified."

Published Thursday, March 21, 2002