Preparing for her GCSEs at the time, 16-year-old Isabel started to feel unwell back in March.

Complaining to her local doctor of a persistent headache on March 28, 2023, no further investigation was made.

Still suffering two days later, Isabel returned to her doctor, but this time she also had a stiff neck and a droopy eye.

Sent home, the doctor’s advice was to take painkillers and use a nasal spray, thinking Isabel was coming down with a cold.

That afternoon, Isabel’s temperature continued to rise, so mum Geraldine drove her to Royal Blackburn Hospital.

Within five minutes of arriving at the hospital, Isabel collapsed onto the floor.

Despite doctors’ efforts to save her, Isabel’s organs began to shut down and she died shortly after midnight on March 31.

Only today, on November 9, an inquest confirmed Isabel died from an infection of streptococcal meningitis.

Coroner Kate Bisset said there were “no lapses” in the care provided by Dr Priya Narayan, based at Waterfoot Medical Practice.

Dr Narayan told the inquest she specifically looked for signs of meningitis, but at the time, Isabel’s temperature, pulse and oxygen levels came back normal.

When Isabel’s mum Geraldine called Dr Narayan about her daughter’s rising temperature, it was Dr Narayan who advised the worried mum to take her daughter to hospital.

Questioned on whether in hindsight she would have done anything differently in treating Isabel, Dr Narayan said: “I have asked myself that every single day, but she was not displaying any of the symptoms one would normally associate with meningitis.”

Coroner Ms Bisset said: “It is clear from the evidence nothing would have made a difference to the outcome.”

Meningitis symptoms can develop quickly, the NHS says, which includes:

  • A high temperature (fever)
  • Being sick
  • A headache
  • A rash that does not fade when a glass is rolled over it (but a rash will not always develop)
  • A stiff neck
  • A dislike of bright lights
  • Drowsiness or unresponsiveness
  • Seizures (fits).

If meningitis is suspected, it’s crucial to go to your nearest A&E immediately.

“Do not wait for all the symptoms to appear or until a rash develops,” the NHS says.

It’s estimated up to one in every 10 cases of bacterial meningitis is fatal.

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