Doctors mistake woman's meningitis symptoms for a hangover

THE mother of a woman who died after contracting meningitis has revelead that doctor's initially thought that she just had a hangover.

After contacting NHS 24, Jennifer Gray attended the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley
After contacting NHS 24, Jennifer Gray attended the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley

Jennifer Gray, a forensic student at the University of the West of Scotland, caught a cold in early April which lingered until a night out with friends a few weeks laters.

Within 48 hours she was in an induced coma and had been diagnosed with meningitis.

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Jennifer’s mother Edwina, 52, from Paisley, said that the diagnosis was completely unexpected: “You never think for a minute that your child is seriously ill. I think the symptoms were so vague, it could easily have been a hangover.”

“She stayed in her room and she thought she had a hangover. “She was just her normal self but she was sick a couple of times. She had a sore head but she wasn’t wanting any paracetamol.

“On the Sunday she said she still had a headache so I gave her two brufen. I went out and she texted me to say that her head was still hurting.”

Jennifer called NHS 24 later that day before attending the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

“She didn’t have the common symptoms. They asked her if she had a rash and she said ‘no’,” said Edwina.

“They told her to go to the RAH and when I got there she looked really bad. She had deteriorated really badly.

She continued: “When we got her down to the hospital she was very quiet but she was losing consciousness when we got her there. That’s when we started to worry.

“After Jennifer lost consciousness, she was taken to intensive care where they put her into an induced coma and diagnosed her with meningitis.”

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She was transferred to neurosurgery at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where doctors tried to revive her.

That evening, Edwina and her husband Jamie were told that there was nothing more that could be done.

Since Jennifer’s death, her parents and friends have come together to raise around £10,000 for the Meningitis Research Fund (MRF).

Edwina collected £3,000 at a coffee morning and a friend’s Just Giving page has raised £800.

Jennifer’s friend Lewis Hogg painted the student’s portrait, which Edwina hopes to sell as prints for charity, while another friend, Ewan McDermott, has designed t-shirts for Edwina and her friends to wear for a 10k race on 2 October.

The group will be racing as Jenn’s Tartan Army on the March.

MRF Scotland Manager, Mary Millar said, “We are so grateful to Edwina and Jamie for raising awareness during Meningitis Awareness Week.

“Young people at university or college are particularly at risk of meningitis and septicaemia because they mix with so many other students, some of whom are unknowingly carrying the bacteria.

“Meningitis can develop suddenly and progress rapidly. Early symptoms include headache, vomiting, muscle pain, fever, and cold hands and feet.

“Students should be alert to the symptoms and should not wait for a rash to develop before seeking medical attention urgently.”