Thomas B's story

11th February 2020

Thomas Butler, from Seghill in Northumberland, was sent home from hospital with what he thought was a relatively minor illness. Less than ten minutes after leaving hospital, he had a seizure – and was taken straight back to A&E

Thomas B bacterial meningitis case study

Now, a few weeks after his meningitis diagnosis Thomas, 25, wants to help others who have been through a similar experience.

“I was taken into hospital recently after battling chronic severe “cluster headaches” and then discharged after five days, being advised I did have an infection. However, they believed it was minor enough to return home and carry on antibiotics as a day patient. I still hadn’t been officially diagnosed with anything other than “cluster headaches”.

“I didn’t feel ready to leave but they still discharged me, and my father came to pick me up and take me back home. In that 5-10 minutes after leaving the hospital, I had a seizure in the passenger seat. So my father drove straight back to the hospital A&E. The hospital decided there was enough grounds to give me a scan on my head.

“I then had another seizure on the CT scanner, and had to be blue lighted across to a specialist neurology hospital which carried out emergency brain surgery that same day. I was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis and advised that I could have lost my life. I will also have to return for a further operation once my six week course of antibiotics is finished to repair the root cause of how the infection has managed to reach the brain.

Struggle to concentrate

“For me, the main after-effects have been more mental at the minute. It may sound strange, but I struggle with word finding and to concentrate. I try to understand my body has been through a lot the last month or so, but I don’t quite think it’s sunk in.

“I’m lucky enough to be in a position of not having any money worries. My family are there for me financially and mentally, and I have a very well paid, stable job, and the company are understanding.

“I know I haven’t lived with the illness for long, and it’s not something that I could offer lots of advice on, but I would love to be able to help and support in any way I can. Whether that be anyone that needs someone to talk to after surgery, or even just wants to speak to someone that’s been through the same situation and wants to simply compare experiences.

“Thanks very much for taking the time to read.”

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