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Mollie's story

5th December 2015

Sixteen-year-old Mollie, from Holmfirth in West Yorkshire, felt under the weather on 20 October 2015, but not too ill to go to college

Mollie's story

However, her condition quickly deteriorated and she went home, before being taken to hospital. Mum Sarah tells their story here

“Mollie had aching limbs and fatigue the night before and went to college on Tuesday 20th October 2015, feeling tired and under the weather but not ill enough to not go.

“Her headache became worse and she started vomiting at around 12.30pm whilst at college. She contacted her grandparents, as she was unable to contact myself or my partner, and they picked her up and brought her home around 1.30pm.

“She was still vomiting in the car but talking and just appeared unwell. She went upstairs to bed but was still nauseous and went to the toilet with a bit of diarrhoea before returning to bed.

“My partner rang me at work at 3pm to tell me he was getting slightly worried, as she seemed 'spaced out', not flushing the toilet and dropping the bin she had vomited in, which was unlike Mollie, and she appeared very weak.

I knew something was really wrong

“He had to pick our four-year-old up from school and said he would check on her on his return and assess the situation then. This worried me as he is a fire fighter and experienced with people’s well-being. I thought if he was worried, I was worried.

“I got a colleague to take me home and once I had seen Mollie and I was struggling to get her to respond with her eyes rolling, I asked my eldest daughter to call an ambulance. I knew something was really wrong as she is not a drama queen when she is ill, she is the opposite.

“The fast response paramedic arrived and checked Mollie over. She still had strength and was fighting anyone trying to move her or make her sit up, so when all her levels were normal he made her take two paracetamol, thinking she was 'putting it on' a bit and was ill from vomiting.

“The ambulance arrived and did the handover and the paramedic from the ambulance decided to take Mollie into hospital.

Something neurological?

“In the meantime Mollie's left hand started to contort and whilst getting her to walk downstairs and slip on some shoes her left foot was visibly weaker. This made the paramedic think it might be neurological. She was wheeled to the ambulance, where they sorted her out and once she was ready I got in with her.

“They explained where we were going, what she was going through, with as a possible diagnosis, and that we were going on lights and sirens to get through the traffic. During the journey Mollie continued to be unresponsive with her left hand contorting and curling under.

“The paramedic then asked me if she had any rashes. I replied that I had pointed out to the previous paramedic a few tiny purple spots on her stomach. She checked these herself and asked me to look in her groin. This resulted in her changing her diagnosis to possible meningitis and she informed the hospital of this.

“She then administered some antibiotic medicine, explaining this would help if it was meningitis but wouldn't hurt if not. We arrived at Calderdale A & E where Mollie received treatment. Returning from a CT scan she had a seizure and deteriorated quickly, so they then put her on a ventilator and took her to ICU, where she stayed asleep for 48 hours.

One of the lucky ones

“Thankfully, we have been one of the lucky ones and she's now made a full recovery.

“Getting Mollie to hospital quickly saved her life. The medical staff all said it was the speed in getting the medication in her system and the timing that had saved her. I can never thank all the staff who treated her at Calderdale A& E and ICU departments enough for saving her from this frightening infection.

“Meningitis Now provided me with information on the infection and has made me realise how lucky we have been and how common this is. You don't hear about meningitis anymore in the news like you did when the 'rolling a glass' campaign came out years ago. It crossed my mind when I saw Mollie before I called the ambulance that she may have meningitis from what I remember from this campaign being on the TV.

“The photo of Mollie was taken on her first trip out following her illness to TGI Fridays in Halifax, her favourite food! The staff there gave her a voucher and sweets with a get well card, a lovely gesture which made her night. Thank you for looking after us during our visit.

“Mollie’s college, Kirklees College in Huddersfield, now hope to carry out some fundraising and awareness raising.”