Meningitis victim: ‘Medics operated on me on my front drive’

Nick Bristow SUS-170103-152834001
Nick Bristow SUS-170103-152834001

A doctor carried out an emergency operation on a teenager on the front drive of his home before he was airlifted to hospital.

Eighteen-year-old Nick Bristow was placed in a medically induced coma before being blue-lighted to the intensive care unit at Brighton Hospital.

Nick, who had been struck down suddenly with meningitis, recalled this week how the drama unfolded last February.

He had gone to bed with a stiff neck and bad headache after spending the day playing football and completing a history essay.

Nick, who lives off Rock Road, Storrington, said: “I do not really remember this happening, or the next 7-10 days. I was sick repeatedly overnight and an ambulance was called.

“One arrived, then another with more paramedics and then an air ambulance which brought Dr Kevin Fong.

“They operated on me on our front drive, putting me into a medically induced coma, then accompanied me as I was blue-lighted to the Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. I was in a coma for six days.

“I cannot pinpoint the moment that I woke up. However, once I had woken up, I wasn’t able to sleep for a number of days afterwards.

“The strong medicine that I’d been treated with meant that I had unpleasant hallucinations, and this along with an inability to sleep took several days to pass.

“Although still very tired from the anaesthetic, after just over two weeks in hospital I had completed my course of antibiotics and I was able to return home.

“I will always be grateful for the amazing treatment I received in those two weeks, as well as the support of my friends and family.”

But it took several more weeks after Nick returned home before he was able to go back to Steyning Grammar School Sixth Form College full-time.

Nick, who is now a student at the University of Southampton, said the whole experience was ‘a bit like a dream’.

“It made me realise how easy it is to take your health for granted, especially as a student.”

Now he is urging fellow students to get vaccinated against meningitis - and is planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, to raise funds for the charity Meningitis Research Foundation.

Foundation chief executive Vinny Smith said: “We are grateful to Nick for taking on this huge challenge to help raise funds for MRF. The money raised will allow us to fund vital scientific research into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis, raise awareness of the disease and support those affected.

“We’re urging all young people in their first year at university to get the free MenACWY vaccine from their GP. This will not only help protect them from four types of meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia but also protect others by stopping the spread.”

You can sponsor Nick at his online fundraising page: