Jennifer Gray, 21, from Paisley, believed her nausea and headache were a result of drinking on a night out with her friends
A student who thought she was suffering from a hangover actually had meningitis and died just a day later.
Jennifer Gray, 21, from Paisley, Renfrewshire, believed her nausea and headache were a result of drinking on a night out with her friends.
But just 24 hours later, the deadly infection overcome her body and was responsible for taking her life.
And now her mother Edwina, 52, is desperate for other young people to become aware of the symptoms to make sure it ‘doesn’t happen to anyone else’.
She told the Daily Record: ‘Meningitis struck my family. It came for us like a bolt from the blue.
‘It is the worst possible thing to happen to someone who has an only child.
‘I just want people to know how fast the illness took her. One minute she was fine. The next minute she was brain dead.’
Edwina added: ‘I think the symptoms were so vague, it could easily have been 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.’
Jennifer was a third year forensic science student at the University of the West of Scotland in Paisley.
Throughout April she had suffered from a sore throat, cough and runny nose.
But just 24 hours later, the deadly infection overcome her body and was responsible for taking her life. And now her mother Edwina, 52 (left), is desperate for other young people to become aware of the symptoms to make sure it ‘doesn’t happen to anyone else’
While out with her friends on a night out on April 15, Jennifer went home after beginning to feel poorly.
When waking up the next morning, the nauseous feeling remained – but both she and her parents assumed it was a hangover.
I just want people to know how fast the illness took her. One minute she was fine. The next minute she was brain dead.
Her symptoms worsened the following day. After contacting NHS 24 she was told to go straight to the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
Her father, Jamie, 55, escorted her there and she was sick in the car on the way.
At hospital, she quickly began to lose consciousness and became agitated and delirious.
She was rushed to intensive care and put into an induced coma as doctors organised a CT scan of her head.
After her symptoms worsened, her father, Jamie, 55, (left) escorted her to hospital and she was sick in the car on the way. At hospital, she quickly began to lose consciousness and became agitated and delirious. She was rushed to intensive care and put into an induced coma
The scan revealed swelling on her brain and a venous thrombosis which was deemed a life or death situation.
Edwina, an occupational therapist, added: ‘When I got there she looked really bad. She had deteriorated really badly.
‘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.’
Edwina said she was always aware of the threat of meningitis while Jennifer was growing up.
But she added that it didn’t cross her mind because she was no longer a child.
She said: ‘Obviously I knew about meningitis and the risks for teens and students but the symptoms were so vague and she didn’t have a rash.’
Edwina rushed to meet Jennifer and Jamie, 55, at the hospital shortly after they arrived.
Surgeons attempted to relieve the swelling on her brain – but it was too late and she was declared brain dead. Doctors then warned the family that anyone in Jennifer’s immediate company needed prophylactic medication as a result of the meningitis
The hospital told the family they had never seen the illness move as quick as it had with Jennifer.
She was then transferred to neurosurgery at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where doctors tried to revive her.
Surgeons attempted to relieve the swelling on her brain – but it was too late and she was declared dead at 7.30pm.
BE WISE TO THE SYMPTOMS OF DEADLY MENINGITIS
Bacterial meningitis is very serious and can be deadly. Death can occur in as little as a few hours.
Meningitis vaccines offer excellent protection, but they are not yet available for all forms.
So it’s vital to know meningitis symptoms and what to do if you suspect someone has meningitis or septicemia.
Symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia:
- Fever and/or vomiting
- Severe headache
- Limb, joint or muscle pain
- Cold hands and feet and or shivering
- Pale or mottled skin
- Breathing fast or feeling breathless
- A rash anywhere on the body
- A stiff neck – less common in young children
- A dislike of bright lights – less common in young children
- Very sleepy, vacant, or difficult to wake
- Confused or delirious
- Seizures or fits may be seen
Source: Meningitis Research Foundation
Her family were also told her cerebral spinal fluid was clear, indicating meningitis wasn’t responsible for her death.
They weren’t told it was bacterial meningitis until the next day when the public health department told them.
Doctors then warned them that anyone in Jennifer’s immediate company needed prophylactic medication.
Following her death, Jennifer was awarded a posthumous degree from the university she was studying at.
Her organs were also used to save five people’s lives, despite her parents not knowing she was on the donor list.
The family have managed to raise £10,000 for the Meningitis Research Fund (MRF) since her death – as some friends and family will take part in the Glasgow 10k run in her memory.
National Meningitis Awareness Week takes place this week.
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.’