Current visiting times

After suspending visiting earlier in the year, we are now able to offer limited visiting to some wards at the discretion of the nurse in-charge.”

Read more on visiting times...


Messages for loved ones and keeping in touch

We recognise the impact that a long stay in hospital can have on families and the importance of maintaining strong communication.  Our ward staff are keeping in touch with patients’ next of kin directly and our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can help pass on personal messages from family and friends.

Read more information about messages for loved ones…

Current visiting times

After suspending visiting earlier in the year, we are now able to offer limited visiting to some wards at the discretion of the nurse in-charge.”

Read more on visiting times...


Messages for loved ones and keeping in touch

We recognise the impact that a long stay in hospital can have on families and the importance of maintaining strong communication.  Our ward staff are keeping in touch with patients’ next of kin directly and our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can help pass on personal messages from family and friends.

Read more information about messages for loved ones…

During your stay in hospital you will meet a number of different members of staff.  All members of staff wear name badges, but if you are not sure who someone is or what they do, please feel free to ask them to introduce themselves and explain what they do. 

If you have any questions about your treatment, please ask a doctor or a nurse.

There are lots of opportunities for you to get involved with the Trust, from volunteering to attending our public meetings, our Annual General Meeting or our hospital open day which is held every year.

News

University student who thought he had hangover left fighting for his life after being diagnosed with meningitis

Date: 08 October 2020

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A Portsmouth student was left in a coma, fighting for his life with meningitis which he thought was lasting effects from a hangover.

19-year-old Ben De Souza was just getting into University life, studying Business & Management at Portsmouth University. Ben joined sports clubs, played cricket and even become a part of a dance group.

Life for Ben was that of a normal university student.

But this was all turned upside down when Ben was struck down by meningococcal meningitis back in November 2019.

Ben had been out drinking with his friends a few nights before and put his headache down to a nasty hangover. However, his headache got worse and he couldn’t keep down any food down.

His flatmates decided to call 999. The paramedics arrived, including first year student paramedic Adam, who was out with Ben those few nights before and was shocked to see how ill Ben was. They decided to rush Ben, who was deteriorating rapidly to Queen Alexandra Hospital (QA).

On arrival, Ben’s condition drastically declined. Ben soon became unconscious and went into respiratory arrest. Ben’s mum Arlene recalls the moment. She says: “When we received the call we rushed to Portsmouth, which was a bit of a drive as we live near Brighton. When we arrived, Ben was unconscious and had already started to cone, which is where the brain starts pushing down on to the spinal cord, the last stage before death.”

To make matters worse Ben had also aspirated his own vomit, so his right lung was in a bad way.

But thanks to the quick thinking of Consultant Benjamin Short and Anaesthetist Matthew Taylor, they pumped Ben with hypertonic saline at speed. This was vital in ensuring Ben would not have any lasting neurological damage.

Ben was later transferred to Critical Care, where they were in constant contact with Southampton’s Consultant Neuro-radiologists and Neurologists, between them agreeing the best course of action.

An MRI later revealed that as a result of the coning episode, Ben had suffered bilateral strokes to the lower cerebellum. This was a major concern given that the lower cerebellum controls both breathing and bulbar function and motor movements.

Ben’s road to recovery was made so much harder because of this. He had to relearn many things that we take for granted.

He had two failed extubations, which meant Ben needed a trache for two-and-a-half weeks before being able to breathe by himself. This was very frustrating for Ben who couldn’t talk, eat or move his body.

The team that cared for Ben while on Critical Care really went above and beyond, and supported Ben through some of his darkest days. “The consultants and physiotherapists had to teach Ben how to do everything again, even learning how to eat and talk. The delivery of care was outstanding,” Arlene notes.

Sadly, after a week on Critical Care Arlene was given the devastating news that her father, Ben’s grandfather, had passed away. Ben was really poorly and Arlene was worried about Ben finding out and delaying his road to recovery. “I just remember thinking, how will this effect Ben. My daughter suddenly came running in shouting about how Ben could move his left side, which before he couldn’t. As sad as that moment was, I knew my father had given Ben his life back,” Arlene recalls.

From that day on, Ben began to move more and more and fought to get back to how he was before.

Eventually Ben was transferred to F1 ward, where again his care was second to none.

The physio team came up with inventive ways to encourage Ben’s rehabilitation, including bringing up a basketball hoop from the children’s ward and encouraging Ben to be involved in his own recovery. The Acute Neuro Therapy team brought up a white board for Ben to gain control of his treatment, setting goals and targets.

Ben set the target of eating a teaspoon of custard on Christmas day, and with the help of his Speech and Language Therapist Fiona Buck, he got two!

After six weeks on F1 ward, Ben was finally discharged home.

“I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who saved my life. If it hadn’t been for the whole team of critical care doctors, nurses and physios as well as the Acute Neuro Therapy team pushing me so hard, I wouldn’t have made a full recovery,” explains Ben.

“Although I had my meningitis vaccination before starting university, unfortunately the MenACWY vaccine doesn’t protect you against the type of meningitis I had which was Meningitis Serotype B. I strongly urge people to get this vaccine and any others offered because it will help protect you against meningitis. There are various strains. I was very unlucky.”

As university students begin to head back for the year, Ben is excited to be back in Portsmouth and get back to his studies. “I am really excited to be able to get back to university and to see my old flatmates. Although I am having to restart my studies, I’m just glad that I am able to be back and look to the future.”

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