A man says a car accident saved his life after leading to a diagnosis of meningitis

A man says being involved in a car accident saved his life because hospital tests showed he had meningitis.

Thomas Crook, 25, collided with a silver Mercedes Sprinter while driving home from work on the A5 in England.

Emergency services rushed to the scene and when he was rescued from his blue Ford Transit, paramedics found he had a very high fever. At the hospital, tests revealed Crook had meningitis, which doctors said could have been fatal if discovered later.

Thomas Crook car accident and hospital pictures
Thomas Crook, 25, collided with a silver Mercedes Sprinter while driving home from work on the A5 in England. He says involvement in the crash saved his life because hospital tests showed he had meningitis.
Nicola Welford, SWNS/Zenger

The truck driver, whom pals call Tom, was in a coma for a week and has lost 80 percent of his hearing due to meningitis.

But he’s fighting his way back to health – and his family is now speaking out to urge people to investigate any horrors immediately.

“It’s completely bizarre – a car accident probably saved my life,” said Crook, from Birmingham, England.

“If I hadn’t been taken to the hospital I wouldn’t have known I had meningitis and could have been worse off – or maybe not here at all.

“My injuries changed my life and it will be hard to come back from that. But I’m relieved to be here and so happy to be with the people I love.”

Normally fit and healthy, Tom was feeling fine when he left home at 7am on April 7th and drove to his employer’s yard.

He then mentioned he had a mild headache when he called his fiancée Anna-Marie Sedgwick, 26, at 7:30am that morning

Another driver told him to call in sick because he had thrown up and looked pale when he arrived to collect his load at 8am

So Crook grabbed a company car and at 8:30 a.m. set off on the 60-mile drive home, which normally takes an hour

But just over two hours later, someone called emergency services to report that a blue van was on its side after an accident on the A5 near Gailey Island, Stafford.

The exact circumstances of the crash are still unclear.

Crook was rescued and taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital, where his febrile temperature alerted staff to meningitis.

He was immediately treated with antibiotics and later that evening the suspicion was confirmed by a lumbar puncture.

Crook’s family say they were initially unable to reach him and were only alerted when a colleague called Anna-Marie because the tracker on the van had stopped working

His mother Nicola Welford, 50, said: “It was awful. We just stayed together. I was panicking – I’ve never felt like this before.

“We kept calling his phone and speaking to the police. He always said not to worry unless he called us himself.

“We just called all the local hospitals to see if he was admitted. Neither of us knew where he was.

Thomas Crook hospitalized after accident
Thomas Crook, 25, seen here in hospital, says being involved in a car accident saved his life because hospital tests showed he had meningitis.
Nicola Welford, SWNS/Zenger

“Then in the hospital we didn’t know if he would ever wake up or what he would be like. It was soul wrenching. I cried my heart out every night. It was unbearable.”

Crook was roadside sedated and in a coma for seven days while a CT scan showed hemorrhage in his brain.

He was transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham for rehabilitation after three weeks on April 28.

There he was diagnosed with fluid in his brain – called hydrocephalus – which caused poor eyesight and a vertebral fracture.

He hasn’t been able to see his family for weeks and he can’t go back to his old job – which he loved.

But friends have gathered to support him and raise money for him to get equipment and live without his normal wages.

Saffron Richards, 25, is skydiving and Tom Humphries, 25, has shaved all his hair off in solidarity.

Mum Nicola, a complex foster sister, said: “These have been really tough months for the whole family. Tom is just devastated.

“We were never able to get to the bottom of what happened to him that day. He went home in the completely opposite direction.

“They think he was hallucinating; they’re not sure if he’s passed out.

“The doctor said if someone had taken him home and he had gone to bed he would have been in critical condition at best.

“They would not have known about the meningitis and would not have been able to keep track of it. It would have been much worse for him than it is now.

“If he hadn’t had the accident he might not be alive and we wouldn’t know about his heart condition either.

“If you’re unsure about an illness, don’t wait. We are such a close family and I’m sure that got us through this situation.

“We don’t know what Tom’s future will hold but he is a fighter and we will be there to support him.”

Both drivers were taken to hospital after the crash, the West Midlands Ambulance Service said at the time.

“When rescue workers arrived at the scene, they found the driver of a van, a man, in serious condition,” a spokeswoman said.

“The team worked together to treat the man to stabilize his condition before he was taken by land ambulance with blue lights flashing to Royal Stoke University Hospital for further specialist care.

“The driver of the second van, a man, was treated by paramedics for non-life threatening injuries before being rushed to New Cross Hospital by land ambulance for further evaluation.”

Staffordshire Police have been contacted for more information about the incident.

However, Crook’s family say a probe was dropped after medics revealed his meningitis diagnosis.

Produced in collaboration with SWNS.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.

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