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Common cold could kill brave schoolgirl


A brave schoolgirl has told how she suffers from a rare condition which means any physical stress – or even a common cold – could kill her.

Common cold could kill brave schoolgirl

Megan Phelps, 11, is faced with with an everyday fear that she could die at any minute as her body cannot produce enough cortisol, which manages stress.

Any kind of stress to her body – including the common cold – causes her to go limp, her lips turn blue and she slips into a deadly coma.

She cannot perform normal tasks such as visiting friends or walking to school without a trained adult who can perform a delicate procedure to save her life.

Megan suffers several serious episodes a year and has been rushed to hospital for life-saving treatment twice in the last six months alone.

Her mother Julie is now campaigning for the emergency medication hydrocortisone to be put into pen-style injections similar to those used by sufferers of epilepsy.

Megan, of Cirencester, Glos., carries an emergency kit with her at all times containing vials of the drug, a syringe and needles, which she cannot administer herself.

Council worker Julie, a 40-year-old mother-of-two, said: ”It is all stress related.

”Megan can deteriorate in a matter of seconds and if she doesn’t receive this injection she could die – it’s heartbreaking.

”It’s very stressful because one minute she looks a bit ill and the next she’s turned blue and has gone limp and I have to remain calm to put the injection together.

”I fear about letting her outside on her own in case something happens – it really is life-limiting.

”As a family we try to keep day to day life as normal as possible but having to ensure she has her injection with her at all times and that an adult is willing and fully trained to administer the injection can be very difficult.

”Megan is a brilliant, loving little girl who has had to come to terms with the illness. It would mean the world to her if she could have an epi-pen.”

All of Megan’s teachers at Watermoor Primary School are trained to give her the life-saving jab.

Cortisol is a chemical hormone produced by the body to manage stress by providing a boost of blood sugar.

When Megan becomes stressed or unwell she is unable to produce enough cortisol and can suddenly suffer an episode – only treatable by injections.

She must be rushed to hospital as soon as possible so medics can closely monitor her condition.

Julie and husband Paul, 46, a manual worker, are campaigning to the Department of Health to allow cortisol deficiency sufferers to have Epi-pens.

Pat McBride, spokesman for The Pituitary Foundation which is backing the petition, said epipens were simple to use, unlike the injections , which patients said were ”extremely difficult” to prepare and use.

”They would be feeling dizzy and unwell making the intricate process of loading the syringe and injecting themselves almost impossible.”

To sign the petition go to gopetition.com/petition/41065.html.


  1. Wow i feel so bad for that little girl and i can only image how her mother feels. If i were in her place i would cry everyday and be so sad.

  2. Just to correct you: an epipen is an injecting device for people suffering a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis. It contains a hormone called adrenaline – called epinephrine in America. It has nothing to do with epilepsy, as your article states, nor cortisol deficiency which Megan suffers from. I don’t think it’s what’s necessary here. What Megan needs, bless her, is a way of conveniently and quickly injecting hydrocortisol i.e. a different drug, but through an ‘epipen’ type of device. Can’t believe this is such a difficult thing for the health authority to come up with. Very poor show.


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