LIFE

Parents Share Warning After Late Daughter’s Meningitis Symptoms Were Written Off As Panic Attack

by Angela Andaloro

It’s important to advocate for yourself in all areas of life. And when it comes to your health, it can actually be a matter of life or death.

Sarah Cullen, 25, visited a walk-in medical center in Lancashire, England, because her finger had changed color. She was given medication and told to follow up with her doctor. Two days later, her boyfriend called for an ambulance after Sarah appeared disoriented. She was slurring her words and complaining of numbness down her right side.

After being evaluated at the hospital, Sarah was discharged. Medical professionals determined that she was having a panic attack and let the young lady go. But the next day, a friend found Sarah collapsed in the bathroom of her home. She returned to the hospital, where her condition continued to deteriorate. It was only when she was put on life support after having a stroke that doctors determined she had bacterial meningitis.

Five days after initially visiting that walk-in medical center, Sarah’s parents were told that her organs were failing and her condition would not improve. They then had to make a decision that is every parent’s worst nightmare. Sarah was taken off life support, and she died shortly thereafter. Now her devastated family is sharing her story to warn others.

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Sarah visited a walk-in medical center for treatment after noticing her finger was discolored. No one imagined that the 25-year-old would be dead just days later.

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Sarah was given medication at the time and told to follow up with her primary care doctor.

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Two days later, Sarah’s parents received a call from her boyfriend saying that Sarah was experiencing numbness in her right arm, was slurring her words, and appeared to be disoriented.

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Sarah’s parents told her boyfriend to call for an ambulance. Sarah was taken to the hospital, where she was discharged later that evening. Doctors determined she had just experienced a panic attack.

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Sarah’s parents spoke to her the next morning.

“In the morning, Sarah rang and said ‘I’m going to have a bath,’ and that’s the last time we ever spoke to her,” they told the Daily Mail, speaking out for the first time since her death.

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It wasn’t long after Sarah’s phone call that her parents received a call from a friend of hers, who had found Sarah unconscious in her bathroom.

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Sarah was put on life support when she was admitted to the hospital. Testing revealed that Sarah had suffered a stroke. She also had bacterial meningitis.

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Sarah’s parents were devastated to learn her condition would not improve. Her organs were failing.

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They made the difficult decision to take their daughter off life support. Sarah died shortly after.

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Sarah’s parents believe that if her symptoms were taken more seriously during her first visit to the walk-in medical center or the hospitalization days prior to her stroke, she might still be alive today.

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There was an investigation into Sarah’s death after her parents voiced concerns that she wasn’t provided adequate care.

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The findings of the investigation stated, “Although there are lessons to be learnt surrounding the patient’s care, it is unlikely a change in care plan would have impact on the patient’s outcome.”

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Sarah’s parents are still seeking answers, but due to an ongoing legal battle, they are unable to speak to individuals with knowledge of their daughter’s case.

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Symptoms of bacterial meningitis include severe headache, drowsiness, vomiting, fever, cold hands and feet, light sensitivity, and stiff neck.

We hope Sarah’s parents will finally get the answers they’re looking for and find peace after their tragic loss.