A Sligo mother has this week recalled the “scariest time” of her life when she almost lost her son to meningitis.
Jacintha McGowan was urging all parents to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis or septicaemia and to “trust their instincts and act fast” if they suspect their child may be seriously ill.
Jacintha (51) remembered the night her son Koray became ill at the age of 18.
It was in February 2015. “He came home from school with what seemed like a cold and a headache. I gave him paracetamol and told him to sleep for a while.
“When I checked on him after an hour he had developed a temperature and didn’t want the curtains open as light hurt his eyes. At 8pm he started vomiting and his whole body was boiling except his hands and feet which were freezing.
“A friend and I rushed him to casualty and Koray could barely walk with the pains everywhere.
“The hospital staff said that we’d be waiting a while but we could see he was deteriorating in seconds, so I kept pleading with the nurse to get someone to look at him. Eventually they did the normal checks and said it could be a virus.
“But as we were waiting for the results his breathing became shallow and pinhead red spots started to appear on his arm and stomach, so I immediately thought, meningitis. I called a nurse to look and when she saw this she just ran and four doctors came back and it was mayhem from there.
“Luckily they started treatment with intravenous antibiotics on the assumption it was meningitis. That fast reaction saved Koray’s life”, she said.