Teen reveals how meningitis scare forced her out of Miss England

A woman who thought she had a good chance of being crowned Miss England has been forced to pull out of the beauty pageant after becoming partially paralysed.

Alanta Richards had two beauty titles under her belt when she entered the pageant, but was forced to withdraw due to a meningitis scare.

Alanta, 18, says she can’t feel her left leg very well and relies on crutches to get around after the highly invasive procedure to check the disease, The sun reported.

She said: “I am still in a lot of pain. I can no longer do any of the things I love like riding and I can barely feel my left leg.

“He has no reflexes and one side of my body is much weaker than the other. I have no idea what happened, but I feel like something went really wrong.

“I’m worried I’ll never feel good again.”

Alanta believed she had a decent shot at becoming Miss England after being given a second chance at the award.

She is the current Miss Surrey and is also entered as Miss Hampshire 2023.

She said: “I was very happy and really excited because I thought I had a good chance this year as it was my second time competing.”

But ten days before last month’s competition, she woke up with an excruciating headache, sore throat, body aches and sensitivity to light before her temperature soared to 41 degrees.

She said: “I slept with a headache but when I woke up it was absolutely terrible.

“The pain was all over my body and my boyfriend Shane couldn’t even touch me it was so bad.”

Alanta called the emergency services, who said they would send an ambulance, but when it didn’t arrive within three hours, her father Wayne took her 10 miles from their home to Frimley Park Hospital in Camberley, 29 miles south-west of central London.

The former tourism student said: “I was in complete agony when I arrived. I was able to walk but very dizzy.

Doctors suspected meningitis and quickly put Alanta on a drip before a brain scan, which showed no problems.

When she woke up the next morning in a hospital bed in “excruciating agony”, doctors decided to perform a lumbar puncture – a painful procedure in which the spinal fluid is extracted with a needle.

She said: “The doctors explained to me that I might feel tingling and to tell them if I did.

“They tried to insert the needle three times before it worked and then all of a sudden I felt a stabbing pain straight down my left leg. It felt like it was being cut open.

“At this point I was screaming in pain and told them to remove it.

“Then the doctors told me to lie down for 15 minutes, but when I got up my legs were dead when I stood up and my back was in agony.”

Alanta needed the Zimmer frame to return to the ward and says she hasn’t been able to feel her left leg properly since then – fearing it is partially paralysed.

She claims she was only given two short physiotherapy sessions at the hospital but was still unable to walk properly when she was sent home on 15 May.

Alanta says she was later told she did not have meningitis and that she had a curved spine, which made the procedure difficult.

The next night, when the contestants took the runway for the Miss England pageant, Alanta lay in her bed practically disabled.

She said: “I felt really terrible because I should have been there on stage competing.”

“When I’m tired, my leg feels heavy, but otherwise I feel almost nothing. If someone pinched me, I wouldn’t feel it as much as in my right leg.”

A spokesman for Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are sorry that Alanta was not happy with her care and we would encourage her to share her concerns with us so that we can investigate them.”

This story originally appeared on The Sun and is reproduced with permission

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