DUNCAN Bannatyne’s daughter has revealed she is lucky to be alive after mistaking deadly sepsis for a hangover.
Abi Bannatyne, 34, thought she’d partied too hard at a friend’s wedding in France when she woke up feeling unwell and shivering.
But within 24 hours she was rushed to hospital and lay hallucinating on the floor of a busy A&E while medics rushed to find her a bed.
She had a temperature of 42 – which is so high it left her at risk of brain damage – after an infection turned into sepsis.
The mum-of-two is now speaking out about her ordeal in a bid to raise awareness of the condition and help other recognise the signs.
Abi, who lives in Middlesbrough, Teeside, said: “I originally thought the symptoms were just a hangover from my friend’s wedding.
Abi thought she was hungover from partying at a friends wedding in France
Within 24 hours she was rushed to hospital suffering with hallucinations and a temperature
“We had a pretty mad weekend so when I got to work on Monday morning I was still feeling unwell and just presumed I was still getting over it.
“By lunchtime, I was freezing cold and sitting next to a heater when one of my colleagues told me I looked unwell and should head home to rest.
“I had a lot of pain in my lower back and felt stiff, I got into bed and couldn’t lift my head up from my pillow and then I started vomiting uncontrollably even though I couldn’t eat.
“My aunty had to collect my children from school but I was still adamant it was a hangover and that I would be fine in a couple of days.”
Abi, pictured with her children Ava and Austin, suffered with aches and pains and began vomiting uncontrollably
Abi, pictured with her sister and son Austin, spent six days in hospital recovering
She stayed resting in bed but things took a turn for the worse when her temperature rose to a dangerous 42 degrees.
“I was being so sick and I felt like I was dying, that’s why I decided to ring 111 at around 4am,” she said.
“I didn’t have a thermometer so I think if I had checked my temperature at that point I would have realised how ill I was.
“I had been telling everyone that I was fine as I didn’t want to bother emergency services if I was just suffering with flu.
“I was told to get a doctors appointment first thing in the morning and if I couldn’t make it till then that I should ring 999 but by 7am I called for an ambulance.
“Things suddenly got serious when she took my temperature and the paramedic said that we needed to get to hospital straight away.”
At one point Abi’s temperature was so high she was at risk of brain damage
Abi believed her symptoms were caused by a hangover and thought she needed rest
Abi was rushed to North Tees Hospital, where she was told she would have to wait in A&E for a bed.
But Abi was so ill that she began to hallucinate and had to lay down on the floor.
“I told them I had to lie down as I felt so ill and they managed to find me a bed in about 10 minutes,” she said.
“I began to get really delusional and I remember feeling like my head was going to fall off, I got really angry when people started laughing at me.
“It was really bizarre like I was in and out of consciousness. Within half an hour the doctors knew it was sepsis.”
Doctors asked Abi when she had last taken antibiotics and that’s when they realised a previous course of treatment had not cleared up a water infection.
Abi said within half an hour of arriving at hospital medics had been able to diagnose her with sepsis
Abi spent six days in hospital, having to celebrate her 34th birthday on a ward surrounded by her family and her two children, Ava, 9, and Austin, 6.
Although Abi had private healthcare through her dad’s business, the working mum was so happy with her NHS treatment that she stayed at Teeside hospital throughout her recovery.
Abi said: “The nurses and doctors were amazing – I was treated really quickly.
“Although it was quite depressing being in a hospital on your birthday.
“It was upsetting for the children to see their mum go through all of this too.
Abi is urging others to be aware of the signs of deadly sepsis
“It was a really frightening experience and I dread to think the outcome if I had not listened, it could have been a lot worse.
“I was at the gym three times a week and was also running regularly, now I struggle to run up the stairs. I’m still recovering six months on.”
Abi told her dad and Dragon’s Den billionaire businessman, who currently lives in Portugal, days later as she didn’t want to worry him as he was on holiday in Monaco at the time.
“Dad was really worried but I told him not to panic and that I was getting better in hospital, he was calling and texting me every day,” she added.
Dr Ron Daniels, chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, said: “Stories like Abi’s remind us of the serious damage sepsis can do.
“Every day in the UK, individuals and families have their lives torn apart by the condition, but better awareness could save thousands of lives each year.
“Anyone with ’flu-like symptoms and one or more of the key signs of sepsis must present to healthcare immediately, either by calling an ambulance or going to an emergency department.
“With every hour that passes before the right antibiotics are administered, the risk of death increases.”