Rugby woman sets up new hospital care group

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A woman who fell seriously ill with meningitis is using her experience of being in critical care to help other patients and their families.

Christine Bullock spent seven weeks being treated at Walsgrave’s University Hospital after being admitted with what she thought was flu.

She suffered a stroke caused by the virus and was put into an induced coma for several days to help her brain recover in November 2011.

Now Christine and her husband Malcolm have become founder members of ICUsteps Coventry Critical Care Support Group in Coventry to support patients and their families on the journey to recovery.

Set up by critical care nurses Caroline Hill and Leanne Warren at University Hospital, the group is part of the national ICUsteps network which aims to help those recovering from critical illness.

Christine, 60, said: “Having a loved one in critical care is a dreadful time.

“We received lots of valuable support from the critical care nurses both while I was in hospital and recovering at home, but we still felt we would have benefitted from talking to other families going through the same.”

ICUsteps was set up in 2005 and became a registered charity in 2006.

Her sister Caroline said: “We set up our group because we felt there was a real need for local people who have been affected by critical illness to have somewhere to meet and share their experiences, to help each other recover from what is a life-changing event and further help their recovery.”

Informal meetings take place every six weeks at St Martin’s Church Hall in Finham, Coventry.

Anyone who feels they need support in coming to terms with the experience of critical illness, or who just want to talk to someone else who has had a similar experience, can drop-in.”

Christine added: “Being in a coma is a very bewildering experience – when you come round it’s almost as if someone has pressed a button and turned off your confidence.

“Setting up the group and sharing experiences has been the best thing I’ve done since my illness.”

The next drop-in is on February 13, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. For more information call 02476 966568 or visit