Meningitis in your words

Terri Devine's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Teenager
  • Relationship: Parent
  • Outcome: Bereavement
Terri Devine

Terri Devine - born 13th December 1992 and who, at the tender age of 16, lost her life to the ruthless disease Group B meningoccocal septicaemia (MenB) on 21st December 2008.

Why only now tell our story? To urge people to back Meningitis Research Foundation in their campaign to demand the government implement the new vaccine “Bexsero” (which became a “licensed” product in January 2013 and which will protect against various strains of MenB) into the childhood immunisation programme. Absolutely heart-wrenching for us and for everyone else who has lost a loved one to this awful disease and not forgetting those who have been left with serious physical/mental disabilities as a result of having survived MenB.

"I was told to give Terri some ibuprofen and with regard to the nausea I could call and they would give me some anti-sickness tablets"

It was late on the 17th December 2008 that Terri first complained of feeling like she “was coming down with the flu” but at that particular time “flu” was rife and a lot of family members and friends had had it. And so began the routine of taking paracetamol and hot drinks as recommended. Initial symptoms were aching limbs and temperature. She went to bed and very early next morning she had been up vomiting and had said that “the top of her head was very sore” describing it as feeling “like a pulse”. After taking more paracetamol she returned to bed and slept a while, woke up still feeling nauseous, vomited again and it was then that I rang the pharmacy. I was told to give Terri some ibuprofen and with regard to the nausea I could call and they would give me some anti-sickness tablets.

After taking more meds and having a very light lunch, Terri chatted a while, watched TV and then said she’d go and lie down. About half an hour later I went down to check on her and at this stage she said she thought she was feeling a little better and didn’t think her headache was as bad. At no time did she seem confused or disorientated. About forty minutes later when her dad went to her room Terri was unconscious. 

About 5.00pm Thursday 18th our world was starting to fall apart before our very eyes. Within less than an hour Terri had been admitted to hospital and meningitis was suspected more or less immediately. Doctors and nurses spent the next hour or more stabilising her in A&E, her heart and blood pressure were causing major problems and she was then transferred to ICU and put on life support and kidney dialysis.

At no time did Terri develop the rash that at times is associated with this disease. Consultants, doctors and nurses worked endlessly around the clock to try and save Terri’s life and were of outstanding support to us as well.

It was late on Friday night when they confirmed our worst fears and gave to us the first indication that they thought Terri was not going to make it. Saturday morning, early, and tests indicated that Terri’s brain stem was dead. Absolutely devastated.

We then decided to donate Terri’s organs for transplant – a decision we have never regretted – and thankfully to this day all recipients remain very healthy. 

"No one should have to experience such tragedy"

For us it has been four long years of learning to live without her and for all those who have been in the same position we’re sure you’d agree that photos will never replace the actual presence of the very special loved one that has died …. It’s their voice, their laughter, their sound that has gone ….. forever.

No one should have to experience such tragedy that can be inflicted by MenB. We must push forward and not remain negative in our thoughts and leave no stone unturned to have this vaccine introduced. Please join us in our petition to the government to have this vaccine implemented as soon as possible. Do it in memory of all that have died, do it for your children, future children and their children ……… for all who have been affected sign now

Marie Devine
April  2013