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Silvana Ortuso

England Bacterial meningitis 60+ Parent
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Total raised in memory of Silvana Ortuso
Silvana Ortuso

My mum was a healthy, active, always busy 75 years old, but she didn't look her age and most certainly didn't feel like it!  She was an amazing mum and an even better grandmother to her 2 adored grandchildren, they were her world!

In October 2016 she came over from Italy for our little girl's 1st birthday, it was a happy time; everything was well!
Then on bonfire night mum complained about feeling a bit rundown, nothing serious maybe a cold coming up so I gave her some paracetamol and told her to stay in the warm the next day.

"Little did I know that would have been the last time I saw my mum alive."

Little did I know that would have been the last time I saw my mum alive.During the night her partner called me to say mum was lying in bed unresponsive with her eyes open and looked like she had been sick in her sleep. The ambulance came very quickly and, after assessing her, we took her to hospital. I thought it was a stroke so I felt relieved when the doctor in A&E told me they scanned her brain and didn’t seem to be stroke related, most likely was an infection so she was given antibiotics. Oh good I thought naively, they know what it is and she should wake up soon!

Silvana Ortuso

Hours later they took her for another scan and after what seemed an eternity, the consultant had to tell me my mum had contracted bacterial meningitis which caused her brain to swell...it was too late, nothing could be done.

I still remember the feeling of confusion and horror as the doctor's words sunk in....meningitis? My mum? But she isn't a child and she isn't ill? How? I had so many questions but the main one was 'could I have done something to spot it sooner and save her life?' The answer I got at the time was no, it looked like a very mild cold, apparently the doctor would have told me to just give her paracetamol and fluids and sent us home. If it had been one of my kids I would have probably taken them to A&E insisting they got checked out because when it came to kids I was very aware of the dangers of meningitis but it never occurred to me healthy adults could also be at risk....even when they mentioned the word infection in hospital I didn't think for a second of meningitis!!

On the 1st anniversary of my mum's death I'd like to set up this fund to help raise awareness about this disease that is still associated with young babies. I also hope one day we can get better, faster diagnosis so that more lives can be saved and other families are spared this agonising pain.

Written by: Anna de Santis
November 2017

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