Bucks Fizz’s Jay Aston recalls moment doctors said daughter Josie ‘may die’ amid meningitis battle


‘They told me she may die’: Bucks Fizz’s Jay Aston recalls horrifying moment doctors said daughter Josie, 18, had a 50/50 chance of survival amid meningitis battle as teen gives first interview since ordeal

Bucks Fizz star Jay Aston has shared the horrifying moment doctors told her that her daughter Josie, 19, ‘may die’ as she battled bacteria meningitis. 

Josie was rushed to hospital in March this year after feeling unwell at home, with her mother saving her life after recognising the signs of the disease following her husband’s previous near-death experience from the illness. 

The Making Your Mind Up hitmaker, 61, opened up on the ordeal in which she was told Josie had just a 50/50 chance of survival, with Jay joined by the teen in her first interview since her recovery. 

Heartbreaking: Bucks Fizz star Jay Aston has shared the horrifying moment doctors told her that her daughter Josie, 19, 'may die' as she battled bacteria meningitis

Heartbreaking: Bucks Fizz star Jay Aston has shared the horrifying moment doctors told her that her daughter Josie, 19, ‘may die’ as she battled bacteria meningitis

Detailing the heartbreaking news she received that there was a chance she could lose her daughter, Jay told Lorraine Kelly: ‘She got in there [hospital] about half past 3 in the morning and by 10 o’clock later that day, they gave us the 50/50. 

‘They sat me in this room and said “she may die”. And your ears just shut down, I was like “I beg your pardon? What did you say?” I just couldn’t hear it. It was later that day that they induced the coma. 

Josie also told the presenter how she initially believed she had sunstroke after having spent time in the sun, telling how she was boiling hot and shaking and that the ordeal ‘happened so quickly’.

Poorly: Josie [L] was rushed to hospital in March this year after feeling unwell at home, with her mother saving her life after recognising the signs of the disease following her husband's previous near-death experience from the illness

Poorly: Josie [L] was rushed to hospital in March this year after feeling unwell at home, with her mother saving her life after recognising the signs of the disease following her husband’s previous near-death experience from the illness

She said: ‘I started feeling a bit unwell, I was shaking uncontrollably. I thought it was heatstroke… then flu.’

However, after Jay checked over her daughter – who had spent the night in her bed – she realised it was something more serious when she noticed three red dots on her arm, which she described as ‘Dalmatian spots’.

The star recognised the rash and Josie’s other symptoms of a headache, neck pain and a temperature which didn’t come down with paracetamol as meningitis as her husband Dave Colquhoun, Josie’s father, had contracted it 19 years earlier. 

She rushed her to hospital, which doctors later said saved Josie’s life, and within an hour Josie’s entire body was covered in the rash. 

Chat: The Making Your Mind Up hitmaker, 61, opened up on the ordeal in which she was told Josie had just a 50/50 chance of survival, with Jay joined by the teen in her first interview since her recovery

Chat: The Making Your Mind Up hitmaker, 61, opened up on the ordeal in which she was told Josie had just a 50/50 chance of survival, with Jay joined by the teen in her first interview since her recovery

Symptoms: The star recognised the rash and Josie's other symptoms of a headache, neck pain and a temperature as meningitis as her husband Dave Colquhoun, Josie’s father [pictured], had contracted it 19 years earlier

Symptoms: The star recognised the rash and Josie’s other symptoms of a headache, neck pain and a temperature as meningitis as her husband Dave Colquhoun, Josie’s father [pictured], had contracted it 19 years earlier

Worst nightmare: 'They sat me in this room and said "she may die". And your ears just shut down, I was like "I beg your pardon? What did you say?" I just couldn't hear it'

Worst nightmare: ‘They sat me in this room and said “she may die”. And your ears just shut down, I was like “I beg your pardon? What did you say?” I just couldn’t hear it’

The following day, when her lungs began to fail, she was taken to intensive care where she was put into an induced coma, given oxygen and treated with antibiotics.

Josie remained in the coma for five days, with Jay sleeping beside her bed in a chair, until doctors took her out of the coma, but there was no improvement. 

After five days Josie opened her eyes and after a day she began to speak. She was transferred to a specialist unit at Kings College Hospital in London after doctors realised her kidneys had been damaged.

Despite surviving the ordeal, Josie was left with long-term side effects of the disease, with Jay stating: ‘Her kidneys aren’t right yet. The last blood test that she had they were functioning at just 12%. 

No idea: Josie also told the presenter how she initially believed she had sunstroke after having spent time in the sun, telling how she was boiling hot and shaking and that the ordeal 'happened so quickly'

No idea: Josie also told the presenter how she initially believed she had sunstroke after having spent time in the sun, telling how she was boiling hot and shaking and that the ordeal ‘happened so quickly’

Signs: However, after Jay checked over her daughter - who had spent the night in her bed - she realised it was something more serious when she noticed three red dots on her arm, which she described as 'Dalmatian spots' [joined by doctor Hillary Jones]

Signs: However, after Jay checked over her daughter – who had spent the night in her bed – she realised it was something more serious when she noticed three red dots on her arm, which she described as ‘Dalmatian spots’ [joined by doctor Hillary Jones]

‘So we are hoping that she can avoid dialysis later on or a transplant. They’ve started moving – it was stuck at seven and it’s getting better every week. 

‘They’ll test them at the end of the month and we’re just praying we’ll get her up to 20% and out of the red zone.’

Bacterial meningitis usually occurs when bacteria enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain and spinal cord.

Still suffering: Despite surviving the ordeal, Josie was left with long-term side effects of the disease, with Jay stating: 'Her kidneys aren't right yet. The last blood test that she had they were functioning at just 12%'

Still suffering: Despite surviving the ordeal, Josie was left with long-term side effects of the disease, with Jay stating: ‘Her kidneys aren’t right yet. The last blood test that she had they were functioning at just 12%’

It is much more serious and rarer than viral meningitis, and one in 10 cases are fatal.

Possible side effects include brain damage, hearing loss and amputation of the affected limbs.

Jay has gone through her own health issues, undergoing seven operations – including having part of her tongue removed – to cure her mouth cancer in 2018 and battling Covid in 2021.

WHAT IS MENINGITIS?

Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.

Anyone can be affected but at-risk people include those aged under five, 15-to-24 and over 45.

People exposed to passive smoking or with suppressed immune systems, such as patients undergoing chemotherapy, are also more at risk.

The most common forms of meningitis are bacterial and viral.

Symptoms for both include:

  • Pale, blotchy skin with a rash that does not fade when compressed with a glass
  • Stiff neck
  • Dislike of bright lights  
  • Fever, and cold hands and feet
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness 
  • Severe headache 
Headache is one of the main symptoms

Headache is one of the main symptoms

Bacterial meningitis 

Bacterial meningitis requires urgent treatment at hospital with antibiotics.  

Some 10 per cent of bacterial cases are fatal.

Of those who survive, one in three suffer complications, including brain damage and hearing loss. 

Limb amputation is a potential side effect if septicaemia (blood poisoning) occurs.

Vaccines are available against certain strains of bacteria that cause meningitis, such as tuberculosis.

Viral meningitis 

Viral is rarely life-threatening but can cause long-lasting effects, such as headaches, fatigue and memory problems. 

Thousands of people suffer from viral meningitis every year in the UK. 

Treatment focuses on hydration, painkillers and rest.

Although ineffective, antibiotics may be given when patients arrive at hospital just in case they are suffering from the bacterial form of the disease. 

Source: Meningitis Now 

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