At the inquest into the death of 18 year old Lauren Sandell from meningococcal W septicaemia, the coroner today [25 June 2018] concluded that Lauren’s GP practice had failed to meet their contractual obligations as part of the Enhanced Service Specification*, and that Lauren’s death could have been prevented if they had called her in for her vaccine.
The MenACWY vaccination programme was introduced for teenagers and first year university students in 2015 to stop a rapid rise in cases of a new and particularly deadly type of meningitis and septicaemia, known as meningococcal group W disease, or MenW.
Young people going on to university are particularly at risk because they mix with so many other students, some of whom are unknowingly carrying the meningitis bacteria.
Lauren, who lived in Woodford Green in London with her mum, dad and two brothers, tried to get the MenACWY vaccine before she started at the University of Bournemouth in October 2016. Her local GP practice told her that it would take two weeks to get an appointment which meant she went to university without protection from MenW. She had only been there a week and a half before she became ill. Her symptoms were headache, vomiting and some aches and pains. Just 48 hours after the first symptoms she was extremely ill with life threatening septicaemia. The disease took Lauren’s life very quickly.
Determined not to let this happen to anyone else, her mother Sharon Sandell took part in a campaign with Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) in 2017 to encourage all young people to book their appointment for the free vaccine.