A double amputee whose meningitis was mistaken for the flu, has called for new university students to get their jabs for the freshman's week.
Mike Chinchen, now 50, from Bournemouth, went home immediately after becoming ill at work in 2002, but was violently ill all night.
The sales manager hurried the next morning to his local doctor, where he got the flu and advised to get general medicine from the pharmacy.
But after talking to the pharmacist, Mr. Chinchen was advised to go straight to the hospital where he collapsed.
When doctors realized that he had contracted meningitis, he was placed in an induced coma for three weeks.
Mike Chinchen (pictured with son Sam), 50, lost both legs to meningitis after his meningitis was confused with the flu
His meningitis caused life-threatening blood poisoning, known as meningococcal septicemia. The condition saw blood and oxygen struggling to reach its limbs and they began to die
The sales manager (pictured with partner Shelley), from Bournemouth, shares his story in the hope that it encourages new university students to have their meningitis jabs before the new semester
The deadly condition had poisoned his blood and cut off the circulation to his legs, causing them to die slowly.
After a three-month stay in the hospital, the father mastered two amputations to relieve the unbearable pain. He also lost the tip of three of his fingers on his right hand.
Mr. Chinchen said: “When I came home from work that day, I went straight to bed, but after waking up several times that night to become violently ill, I knew that I was not doing well.
& # 39; Even when I went to the doctor and they told me I just had the flu, I knew that was not the case – but if the pharmacist then advised my partner not to take me to the hospital, I would probably died.
& # 39; As soon as I arrived at the hospital, I collapsed – I don't remember anything except that I slowly woke up from an induced coma three weeks later.
& # 39; Although the hospital tried to save as much of my body as possible, I had to have amputated both legs under my knee and also taken three of the fingertips on my right hand.
Now Mr. Chinchen shares his story in the hope that it will encourage new university students to have their meningitis jabs before the new semester.
Mr. Chinchen (in his younger days) said he decided to continue with his amputations to give him a chance at life for his family
After the operation he only returned two months later with the help of prosthetic limbs
The fit father is now cycling and walking again and has started collecting money for Meningitis UK
He added: & # 39; If I can give a little advice after such a terrible experience, it would be to encourage everyone to get meningitis vaccinations to prevent this from happening to them – especially for new university students. & # 39;
Teens and & # 39; fresher & # 39; students who go to university for the first time are advised to have a vaccination to prevent meningitis and blood poisoning.
The so-called Nimenrix vaccine is administered by a single injection in the upper arm. It protects against four different strains of meningococcal bacteria that cause meningitis and blood poisoning: A, C, W and Y.
Cases of meningitis and blood poisoning caused by a highly virulent strain of male W bacteria have been increasing since 2009.
What is meningococcal septicemia?
This is the most dangerous and deadly form of meningococcal disease.
It happens when the bacteria enter the bloodstream and multiply uncontrollably, damaging the walls of the blood vessels and causing bleeding in the skin (resulting in the distinctive rash).
Symptoms may include: fever, tiredness, vomiting, cold hands and feet, chills, severe pain or pain in the muscles, joints, chest or abdomen, rapid breathing, diarrhea – and, at a later stage, a pinprick or purple bruise rash.
Septicemia can lead to death within a few hours, or permanent disabilities such as severe scars due to skin transplants and amputation of fingers, toes, arms or legs – due to a lack of blood circulation in the body's extremities.
Older teenagers and new university students run a higher risk of infection because many of them deal closely with many new people.
Some unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria in the back of their nose and throat.
It is generally estimated that one in every 10 cases of bacterial meningitis is fatal.
Mr Chinchen's meningitis – an infection of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord – caused life-threatening blood poisoning, known as meningococcal septicemia.
When blood poisoning causes damage to the blood vessels, blood leaks out, so the rash does not fade under pressure.
Without blood and oxygen reaching the skin and underlying tissues, they begin to die, leading to skin damage, loss of fingers and toes or amputation of limbs.
Mr. Chinchen said he had made the decision to continue his amputations to give him a chance at life for his family.
He said: & # 39; Before my surgery, my head was as big as a football and both my legs, and three of my fingers were black with sepsis – there was no chance that they would be saved.
& # 39; I knew I had to continue with the amputations so that I could be there for my family.
& # 39; Fortunately, I came back very quickly from the operation and could only walk two months later with the help of prosthetic limbs.
& # 39; No matter how terrible it was to lose my limbs, I am happy to see my son grow up and still be there for my family.
& # 39; But I really believe that if I got the meningitis prick in advance, all this would not happen – so if you are offered it, please take it so that you don't end up in the same way as me. & # 39;
Mr. Chinchen & # 39; s partner Shelley is running in the London Half Marathon in support of Meningitis UK. To donate click here
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