Mum, 34, who thought she’d caught daughter’s cold died days later

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A 34-year-old mum died just days after being admitted to hospital with what she thought was "a simple cold".

Jeanine Jones from Eastham died at Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral on Wednesday 28 April.

The mum died after suffering with complications of endocarditis – an inflammation of the heart's inner lining.

Jeanine had previously battled the rare heart infection after developing sepsis following the birth of her daughter in December 2018 and had a heart operation to fit a new valve.

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She was staying at her mum's house, after suffering a broken leg during a road traffic accident, when she began to complain of feeling unwell, with what she believed was a cold caught from her two-year-old daughter.

However after being admitted to Arrowe Park Hospital medics diagnosed Jeanine with endocarditis.

Phoebe, Jeanine and Alison Jones

Her condition deteriorated and she was admitted to the intensive care unit at the hospital where her mum Alison says the "caring, loving" mum of one was still texting away in the family Whatsapp group and "making plans for the future" when her condition took a further turn for the worse.

Alison told The ECHO: "She was living with us at the time and her little girl had a really bad cold and we'd all caught this cold, so we thought that was the same thing.

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"She had no signs of anything else and on the Monday night she got up and said she felt a bit hot.

"On the Tuesday she stayed in bed all day, and I'd gone to work in the afternoon and came home and she was coughing up blood so the ambulance came to get her.

"We never thought when she was going into that ambulance it was the last time we would see her.

"Even on the Wednesday we were all in our Whatsapp group and she was texting all through the day making plans, then we got a phone call to come into hospital in the night and she hadn't made it.

"Due to covid we couldn't go through to see her, which was just so sad we couldn't say goodbye."

Alison, who lives in Raby with her husband and Jeanine's dad Andrew, said because her daughter had struggled with endocarditis before the family thought she would pull through.

She now wants to raise awareness of the condition and just how quickly people can deteriorate.

She added: "The awful thing is we were lulled into a false sense of security because she'd already battled endocarditis before and come through.

She'd had the operation and we thought that was it and her heart was the healthiest it had been.

"The trouble is once you've had endocarditis you can be susceptible."

Endocarditis is a rare and potentially fatal infection of the inner lining of the heart, known as the endocardium. It's most commonly caused by bacteria entering the blood and travelling to the heart.

Warning signs

Initial symptoms of endocarditis are similar to flu and include:

  • a high temperature
  • chills or night sweats
  • headache
  • join and muscle pain
  • shortness of breath, especially during physical activity
  • cough
  • tiredness (fatigue)

While the heart usually is well protected against infection, bacteria can bypass the immune system in people who have an artificial heart valve, congenital heart diseases, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or damaged heart valves because of infection or disease.

Without treatment, the infection damages the heart valves and disrupts the normal flow of blood through the heart, triggering a range of life threatening complications such as heart failure and stroke.

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Alison described Jeanine as a "caring, loving, funny person who never complained."

She said: "Jeanine just got on with life, she was settled and happy in her little flat with her daughter Phoebe, who is two, and she was very close to us.

"We're a very close family and everything was going well for her, she was happy.

"She was working as a support worker at Autism Together a few days a week, it gave her something, she wanted to work it gave her purpose and she used to go to everything with Phoebe, even in covid, she'd be doing Pop Cats with her virtually in her flat.

"It's just so sad, 34, that's not the age to go."

Jeanine says she's been overwhelmed by the tributes and messages she's received since the news of Jeanine's death on social media.

Jeanine with her sister Chloe, neice Faye and daugther Phoebe

A fundraiser, launched by friends of Jeanine, to provide for her two year old daughter Phoebe in the future has prompted many to get in touch to pass on their tributes and well wishes to the family.

Alison said: "So many people have been getting in touch, it's been a comfort really, saying she had such a lovely nature and was very kind.

"People she worked with at Autism together have messaged, she was very popular and known for being very patient with people."

Alison says Jeanine was an "excellent cook" who would often make meals for her family from scratch and even while recovering from her own illness was caring for others.

Jeanine was also a big Harry Potter Fan, who loved "escapism" like Lord of the Rings and Games of Thrones and was devoted to her daughter, Phoebe.

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Alison says she hopes that by sharing Jeanine's story it can help raise awareness of the complications of endocarditis.

She said: "If it raises some awareness that's what I hope for. Before Jeanine had it, I'd never known or even heard about endocarditis at all. When I heard about it the first time with Jeanine, it was caused by sepsis and I got sepsis cards to hand out for people, it can kill a lot of people, and so often with endocarditis there's another underlying cause.

"We were lulled into a sense of security thinking it will be okay as she had recovered but they said the valves were leaking a bit after the operation, it made it easier for an infection to get in.

"She was just such a loving person, she was really close with her sister Chloe and they would chat every day, over covid we've been in our bubble together and she was very close with my nephew Alex, who lives in New Zealand, and just so caring with people, that was Jeanine.

"I'm very proud to be her mum and I miss her so much."

A celebration of Jeanine's life will be held at Landican Cemetery on May 18.

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