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Courtney's story

26th November 2019

Courtney, from Oldham in Lancashire, thought she was coming down with flu or tonsillitis when she started to fall ill in January this year. But then she noticed a rash

Courtney's story

Courtney, who is 16 and training to work in childcare, told us her scary meningitis story.

“I left school and did well in my GCSEs then turned 16, got myself a part time job and was so excited to start college in September 2018! Life was going great, I had a great Christmas and New Year, spending it with friends and family.

“It was time to go back to college doing my course in childcare - which is part time at college studying and part time working in a nursery putting it in to practice. I came home from nursery and told my mum I had a sore throat and felt a bit off. She had a look expecting white spots or redness thinking tonsillitis and there was nothing.

“I had some ice cream thinking that would soothe it and then went to sleep. My mum came in to my room the next morning and I told her I still wasn’t well. She told me to take the day off and rest to see if that helped.

Flu like symptoms

“As the day went on, I started feeling worse - dull headache, temperature, sore throat; just flu like symptoms. My mum checked my temperature and it was 42 degrees! I had some paracetamol and it started to come down but my mum noticed some sort of rash on my neck that looked like bruising. As she checked the rest of my body she found more and more appearing. She pressed a glass on it and it never disappeared; she knew something wasn’t right.

“Luckily, my dad came home from work at that moment. He had a look and decided to take me to A&E. As we walked into hospital, we spoke to a nurse and my mum explained the rash. She immediately brought us into a bay and started doing various tests.

“By 8pm an ICU team had come in to explain they would have to put me in an induced coma. I was so tired and weak, I couldn’t really understand what they were trying to say to me. I had contracted meningococcal septicaemia.

“I woke up a week later in intensive care. I had been in a critical state. It was hour by hour and if my parents didn’t act when they did the nurses said I would have died within hours. I was on a lot of medication and on dialysis for my kidneys as they took a pounding. The rash on my body had blistered and started to go to dead tissue but I felt extremely lucky as I still had all my limbs, my brain scan was clear and I was just so thankful to be alive.

“I was vaccinated for this when I was at school at age 14 and the doctors think that helped slow the disease down and help save my life.

Small steps

“I spent a total of three weeks in intensive care and a further week on a general ward. After eleven months now I still have to attend appointments like physio as I can’t feel my toes, but I’m trying to get back into everyday life doing half days at college and nursery. I can’t do full days at the minute as it takes everything out of me so I’m just taking small steps and hoping for the best. I’m so grateful to all the staff at Royal Oldham Hospital for saving my life and my mum and dad for everything they did and still do for me. I’m going to live life to the fullest now that I have a second chance.”