Quick-thinking mum saved Holly’s life

Holly Batten, right, with her mum, Tracey, who recognised the symptoms of meningitis and reacted quickly in getting her daughter to hospital

Holly Batten, right, with her mum, Tracey, who recognised the symptoms of meningitis and reacted quickly in getting her daughter to hospital

First published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by

A TEENAGER who was struck down with life-threatening meningitis says her mum’s quick-thinking helped save her life.

York College student Holly Batten, 18, says she is lucky to be alive after contracting meningococcal meningitis and she says it is thanks in part to her mum, Tracey, who recognised the signs and reacted quickly in getting her daughter to hospital.

Holly said: “I only remember a couple of things about what happened. I remember being freezing cold in the ambulance at the same time as my temperature was 39.8 and how wonderful the intensive care nurses were at York Hospital. But most of all, I want to thank my mum for saving my life.”

Mrs Hegarty, 47, said Holly had been staying at a friend’s house and became unwell, so she had gone to collect her.

She said: “As soon as I saw her I knew there was something wrong. She looked ill and her eyes didn’t look right. She said she had a terrible headache, she’d been sick through the night and she kept losing sensation in her arms and legs.

“We got home and I googled her symptoms and saw it might be meningitis. I had had viral meningitis myself years ago and knew you had to act fast.”

Holly, of Dringthorpe Road, off Tadcaster Road, was taken to A&E at York Hospital and within 20 minutes she lost consciousness.

Mrs Hegarty, a lettings manager at Bridgford’s estate agents in Micklegate, said: “When the nurse took me to one side and asked if we would like to see the chaplain because she might not make it, I couldn’t believe it.

“The only option they had was to put her into a coma to try and reduce her brain swelling. If they hadn’t induced the coma, she would certainly have died.

“I would like to say thank you to Claire, the nurse who was on duty on New Year’s Day, who stayed well after her shift had finished to stay with me while Holly was waiting to have a head scan as I was in a bit of shock.

“Claire stayed until Holly had had the scan and my family arrived for support. I can’t thank her enough.”

Holly was taken out of intensive care after 48 hours and placed on the hospital’s high-dependency unit for 24 hours before being moved on to a normal ward. She spent six days in hospital in total.

Mrs Hegarty said doctors described her recovery as “remarkable”.

Today Holly has some nerve damage and some concentration problems, but her doctors hope she will stage a full recovery. Just over a fortnight after her ordeal, Holly sat her exams at college.

Mrs Hegarty’s partner, Mark Thompson, 45, now plans to carry out a coast-to-coast walk to raise money for the Meningitis Trust. To sponsor him go to justgiving.com/Mark-Thompson67


What is meningococcal meningitis?

• There are approximately 1,500 reported cases of meningococcal disease each year in the UK. This is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis

• About seven per cent of cases of meningococcal disease will result in death

• Of those who survive, 15 per cent can be left with severe and disabling after-effects such as loss of hearing and sight, brain damage and, where septicaemia has occurred, damage to major organs, loss or digits and limbs

• Meningococcal disease can strike at any age, but most cases occur in babies and young children, the next most vulnerable group is teenagers and young adults.


The symptoms

• Fever and chills

• Mental status changes

• Nausea and vomiting

• Purple, bruise-like areas

• Rash, pinpoint red spots

• Sensitivity to light

• Severe headache

• Stiff neck

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