Meningitis survivor thanks staff

Addie Quinnear patient meet up

Staff in mid-Essex have had the opportunity to meet an inspiring meningitis survivor who gave a heartfelt and emotional thank you for saving her life.

Twenty-six-year-old Addie Quinnear met paramedics Ellie Moody and Esther Shawe and student paramedic Rob Roszkowski for a tearful reunion, having already endured a horrific year after losing her husband to cancer in September.

“These three people are the reason I’m alive,” said Addie. “I wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t turned up and did what they did.”

Addie, a coach station manager at Stansted Airport, contracted the meningococcal form of the disease which affects around 2,000 people in the UK and Ireland every year.  She remembers feeling achy and sick like she’d been “hit by a truck” when she woke up on 28th March at her home in Braintree.

“I was meant to be going to Wembley to watch a rugby game with my dad but I couldn’t even pick up the phone to let him know I was unwell,” said Addie. “I thought I’d sleep it off but woke up on Sunday and felt worse. I put the TV on and the screen was too bright. I knew I wasn’t well and my face was really grey. I don’t know where I got the energy from but I knew I had to let someone know I wasn’t well and sent my mum a text.”

Addie’s mum Claire called 111 to confirm her daughter’s symptoms and a rapid response car and an ambulance were promptly dispatched.

Braintree paramedic Ellie arrived within four minutes. Back-up arrived and Addie was taken to Broomfield Hospital, where she spent five days in intensive care, three days in the high dependency unit and one day on a ward.

Leading up to her illness, Addie had marked what would have been her husband Andy’s 32nd birthday with friends after returning from a trip to Barcelona.

“The trip was a reboot,” she said. “I went away for four days on my own and I was so proud that I had done it. For my husband’s birthday we had everyone round. It was fantastic and I was on a high. I was heading back to work on Monday then that weekend happened.”

On leaving hospital, Addie had difficulty walking but while she is still suffering with tinnitus and has some ongoing memory recall problems, she hopes that her life will improve and is keen for her experiences to help raise awareness for others.

Claire added her thanks to everyone involved in her daughter’s care, saying she was “petrified” when she saw the rash on Addie’s arm: “The lady on the phone held my hand through it because I was falling apart. I would like to say thank you to them all for giving me back my daughter, my baby.”

Sandra Chick, EEAST Senior Locality Manager for mid-Essex, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to reunite the staff with Addie as she was in a very bad way. I’m really proud of my staff. There’s no doubt they provided a first class level of care and played a key role in keeping this amazing young lady alive. We all hope it’s onwards and upwards for Addie from here and wish her all the very best.”      

Esther said: “We walked in and knew it was meningitis. I have never seen someone as bad as this. Not a day goes by that Addie is not in our thoughts.” Ellie added: “Addie is by far the most poorly person I have ever seen in my career. Seeing her [today] is quite emotional.”

Published 29th June 2015 

Pictured (left to right) - Ellie Moody, Addie Quinnear, Esther Shawe and Robert Roszkowski.

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