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Teenager saves girlfriend after spotting deadly meningitis
12:00pm Friday 11th January 2013 in Southend
A TEENAGE boy saved his girlfriend’s life after spotting the symptoms of potentially fatal meningitis.
Rachel Lucy, who turned 18 on Christmas Eve, thought she had flu when she began to feel ill while at her part-time job in Boots in Southend.
Her boyfriend Adam Kirkland, 19, picked her up and they went back to his home in Woodgrange Drive, Westcliff.
She decided to stay overnight but suffered blinding headaches and several bouts of vomiting.
In the morning she took a shower and it was then Adam noticed bruising on her shoulder - and small red spots on her body.
After pressing a glass against her skin and seeing the spots did not disappear he feared she had meningitis and called a paramedic who repeated the test and summoned an ambulance.
Following a 90-minute wait for the ambulance, the gravely ill youngster was rushed to Southend Hospital where medics battled to save her life for two days.
Her mum, Jacqueline Lucy, 49, of Fairleigh Drive, Leigh described the horror of finding her daughter had become so ill.
She said: “It was the day after boxing day while she was working that she became unwell.
“Adam called me and said he would collect her and look after her. I had had flu so we all just thought it was that. She stayed at Adam’s and I went around there at 9am the next day.
“By then Adam had already called the paramedic. My heart nearly stopped when I saw her. She was burning hot and delirious. We were told it could take up to two hours for the ambulance.”
Mrs Lucy added: “By the time we got her to the hospital she was much worse.
“They had to shut her body down and put her on a ventilator. She was moved onto the critical care ward. The doctor said he wasn’t going to deny we had a very sick little girl who could die.
“Luckily when they brought her round she was alright. She left hospital on New Year’s Eve and is now back to college. I’ve no doubt that Adam saved her life when we all just thought it was flu.”
Rachel, who studying A-level law, geography and sociology at South Essex College, said: “It was a nightmare but I’m feeling better now thanks to Adam. I definitely thought I just had flu.
“I didn’t know anything about this glass test and in any case I was too ill to think about anything like that at the time.”
Adam said: “I remember the signs of meningitis from my school medical room and realised it was that as soon as I saw the rash. I pressed a glass to her skin but the rash didn’t disappear.
“We waited an hour-and-a-half for an ambulance so I was very angry about that.”
A spokesperson for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust: “While a particularly high number of immediately life-threatened patients were being prioritised at this time, our service for this patient was not up to the standards we aim for. We will be investigating the incident to find out what happened and can use those findings to inform improvement plans. We would urge the patient to contact us so we can speak to her directly about this.
“We would also reassure the public that we have a raft of improvements planned, including recruiting 140 new frontline staff, putting in better rotas and working closer with hospitals to reduce handover times.”