Sidmouth dad’s battle back from meningitis horror

PUBLISHED: 15:00 18 December 2010

A DAD-of-three from Sidmouth battled back from the brink of death after a lethal form of meningitis left him in a coma.

A DAD-of-three from Sidmouth battled back from the brink of death after a lethal form of meningitis left him in a coma.

Peter Lovell has been rendered totally deaf by the brain bug, which can kill in hours, but his family say they are just grateful he is alive this Christmas.

Peter, 45, and wife Judie, from Salcombe Regis, have backed a meningitis charity’s awareness drive in the hope more lives can be saved.

“If we don’t get the word out there people will remain ignorant to this devastating disease,” said Judie.

“People don’t realise it can affect anyone of any age. It certainly never crossed our minds.”

Peter first felt he had flu’ when he was taken unwell. Less than a day later he was rushed to hospital. Doctors put him into a coma as he struggled to breathe on his own. Tests confirmed Peter had pneumococcal meningitis – the deadliest type. He spent a week in a coma and missed his and his daughter’s birthdays.

When Peter came round it was apparent something was wrong, said Judie.

She said: “It took us a few days to realise he was completely deaf. He couldn’t remember our little daughter, Nicole, and thought our 18-year-old was two. It took him four days to work out who our three children were. He also has memory loss. Although he’s not really the same person we’re just so relieved that he’s alive.”

Peter’s near-death experience in 2008- and subsequent struggle to recover - has prompted the couple to speak out in support of Meningitis UK’s ‘Look Out 4 Meningitis, Look Out 4 Others’ campaign.

The charity has urged residents to request a free awareness poster and distribute it to places like GP surgeries and schools.

People are most at risk from meningitis during the winter months, with the majority of dangerous bacterial forms striking due to cold weather weakening immune systems.

Meningitis UK founder Steve Dayman, whose son Spencer died from the disease, said: “Peter’s story highlights what a devastating disease meningitis is and how quickly it can take hold.

“We’re hoping people will help us to raise awareness at the time of the year they are most at risk.

“Knowing the symptoms and getting swift treatment can mean the difference between life and death.”

To request a poster or a free symptoms information packs phone 0117 373 7373 or visit www.meningitisUK.org.


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