Poole plumber lucky to survive pneumococcal meningitis

A POOLE plumber who contracted fatal meningitis before being hospitalized for two months has suffered permanent brain damage.

Martin Fletcher developed pneumococcal meningitis while working in London in July 2016.

It effectively left a part of his brain dead, from which it will never recover.

Today, after returning to his hometown of Poole, the 51-year-old shares his story of raising awareness of the disease – which can affect anyone of any age.

“I felt terrible with a bad headache,” said Martin, “but I went to work as a self-employed plumber in Wembley anyway.

“My employer said I looked terrible and had to sit for ten minutes.

“The next thing I knew it was two weeks later and I woke up from an induced coma in the hospital.”

Martin had pneumococcal meningitis, a disease that kills one in ten people.

It often leaves survivors with life-changing consequences.

Martin, who was living alone at the time, said, “Going to work that day saved my life.

“If I had stayed at home, no one would have been around to call the ambulance.

“Brain scans have shown that I have a dark spot in my brain that is dead and will never recover.”

Martin now suffers from amnesia and impaired cognitive function, which means that he can no longer return to work.

He said, “Plumbing is all I’ve done since I was 16, but I just couldn’t do it anymore.

“I would forget things and lose focus. I still struggle with basic daily tasks, such as paying bills or even remembering to eat.

“God knows where I would be without my family. They helped me so well. I am one of the lucky ones. ‘

Martin shared his story in support of World Meningitis Day, which took place on April 24.

Rob Dawson, director of communications, advocacy and support at the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF), said, “The invisible after-effects of meningitis can be life-changing.

Survivors who suffer from memory loss, brain damage, PTSD, hearing loss, and more report feeling lonely and isolated.

“Because they look ‘normal’ people expect them to be the same as they were before they got sick.

“On this World Meningitis Day, we were very grateful to Martin for raising awareness of the devastating consequences meningitis can have, and we encouraged everyone to take action to beat meningitis by visiting www. meningitis.org for more information.”

Meanwhile, Martin said, “Before I got sick, I didn’t even know adults could get meningitis. I thought it was just something babies got.

Now, the more I’ve read about meningitis, the more I reckon I’m happy.

“I might walk down the street and sometimes forget where I’m going, but at least I’m walking.”

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