The friends of a young mum who fell into a coma in France have rallied around with a fundraising campaign to help her family meet the cost of staying at her bedside.
Amy Wain, of Swanwick, cut short a dream holiday to Disneyland for her five-year-old daughter Elissa, and was coming home on a ferry when her condition became critical and she was evacuated by helicopter.
After Amy, 28, was diagnosed with untreated pnuemonia, her vital organs failed and she was put on a life-support machine. Amy’s twin-sister Jessica has spoken to The News about the nightmare of her sister’s illness and her family’s ordeal as they struggle to keep in touch.
Returning from a bedside vigil at the hospital in Rouen this week, she said: “It has been a nightmare. She is my twin sister, she is all I’ve ever known.
“This Friday is Elissa’s sixth birthday party. The last conversation I had with Amy was to make sure it went all right.”
Before setting off on June 1, Amy had been to the doctor four times complaining of a cough, shortness of breath and pains in her chest. She was given antibiotics, an inhaler and later steroids.
Jessica said: “The day before we went she got another course of steroids and more medication. She wasn’t fit to go but she had promised her daughter she would take her to Disneyland.”
After travelling to France on the Eurostar, Amy, Elissa, Jessica and three friends stayed in a chalet where Amy “drastically turned” and they decided to return home by ferry.
On board Amy’s breathing was so tortured, Jessica called the ship’s doctor. While Amy was flown to Le Havre, Jessica returned home with Elissa. Mum Debbie went over to be by her daughter’s bedside, and was later joined by Jessica, Amy’s dad Clive and brother Mark.
The 28-year-old was diagnosed with untreated pnuemonia and as her condtion grew worse she was transferred to a specialist unit in Rouen, where her lungs, kidney and heart failed and she was put on a life-support machine.
Jessica said: “She could be on it indefinitely. There are only three centres in England that offer the treatment. All the doctors have said that if this had been picked up earlier it wouldn’t have happened.”
Besides the family’s fears for Amy’s well-being and the frustrations of the language barrier, pressures are mounting from the combined cost of travel and lost earnings. They are currently in dispute with the insurance company who say the amount of medication Amy was taking could invalidate her policy.
Amy’s co-workers at the BP garage in Hartshay, where she has worked for five years, have formed Amy’s Angels, a team who have collected donations and raffle prizes to raise funds for the family’s expenses.