A MUM has shared a heartbreaking photo of her son, after he nearly died from the flu.
Jack Hollingsworth had become unwell at home after he contracted the flu which later developed into pneumonia.
The fit and healthy 19-year-old was rushed to hospital, where he spent ten days in a coma.
Now his mum Claire has urged all parents to take the nasty winter illness seriously.
The former nurse said she initially thought her son had Covid, but the test had come back negative.
Claire, who lives in Llangristiolus, Anglesey, Wales, said she knew something was seriously wrong when Jack’s temperature spiked and his heart rate became very fast.
It was then that she rushed him to Ysbyty Gwynedd’s Emergency Department on December 15.
Jack was taken to intensive care where doctors put him in a coma.
Claire said: “Towards the end of the week he became more unwell, he had a very high temperature and a very fast heart rate.
“I couldn’t wait any longer, I’m an ex nurse so I knew my son wasn’t very well and I felt there was a risk that we could lose him.
“I drove Jack in my car to the department and ran inside to get some help.
“The receptionist could see how frantic I was and immediately alerted the clinical staff who rushed him straight into Resus.
“It was apparent that Jack was extremely sick as the team decided he needed ventilating straight away.
“It was the worst moment of my life seeing my son like that.”
Tests revealed Jack had the flu, which had developed into pneumonia and medics had feared for his life.
Dr Terry Collingwood, critical care consultant, said: “When Jack arrived with us in the Intensive Care Unit his condition was life-threatening.
The symptoms of flu you need to know
The NHS states that flu will often get better on its own, but can make some people seriously ill.
Symptoms can come on very quickly and will often include:
- a sudden high temperature
- an aching body
- feeling tired or exhausted
- a dry cough
- a sore throat
- a headache
- difficulty sleeping
- loss of appetite
- diarrhoea or tummy pain
- feeling sick and being sick
Guidance states that symptoms are for children, but they can also get pain in their ear and appear less active.
“He needed complex medical support to survive the initial 48 hours.
“During that time we received advice and guidance from the Specialist Respiratory Failure service at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester on how best to manage Jack’s condition, for which we were extremely grateful.”
On Christmas Eve, Jack started to show signs of improvement and he was taken out of the coma.
During those 10 days, Claire said there were times when she thought she would lose her son.
“A parent should never have to see their child so ill and it was just heartbreaking for us as parents to see our baby ventilated.
“Jack is super fit, having just completed an advanced diploma in outdoor activities but he demonstrated how a young person can become suddenly overwhelmed by influenza once they reach a point that their immune system burns out.
“At this point, he deteriorated from a boy with a flu like illness to severely unwell in the space of a couple of hours.
“It was a reminder of how dangerous flu can be, even for those who are young and fit and we would continue to encourage anyone who is eligible to get their flu jab after seeing what it nearly did to our son.”
Jack was released from hospital on Boxing Day, but has since been back to hospital to thank the NHS workers who saved his life.
He said it had been great to visit them, and thank them personally.
“I will be forever grateful to them for saving my life,” he said.
Claire added: “We just want to thank the hospital, especially the Critical Care team and the Emergency Department staff for all the care and support they have given us.
“We felt so looked after during that time and the care they provided Jack was incredible.
“We are extremely grateful to them and everything they did.”
Dr Collingwood added that helping a patient like Jack can be very challenging and requires input from many people working in multiple different specialities.
This includes nursing, physiotherapy, radiology and laboratory services as well as the various support services such as housekeeping, administration and portering staff.
“It is a huge testament to the entire team here at Ysbyty Gwynedd that someone as sick as Jack was when he arrived has been able to make such a remarkable recovery.
“We were all delighted to see Jack again and we are so pleased to see him doing so well,” he added.
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