Eastbourne mother on life support from lupus flare-up over Christmas

A woman from Eastbourne was put into an induced coma and is now on life support due to a lupus flare-up on Boxing Day.

Emma Hitchmough, from Langney, was taken into the DGH on Boxing Day (Sunday, December 26). She had been struggling with what was thought to be a cold and her condition was deteriorating.

Friend Leanne Gottschalk said, “Shortly after arrival she was put in an induced coma, and within hours her husband Tony was told to contact family to come and say goodbye, as they didn’t think she would make it.

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“We are lucky to be able to say that Emma has pulled through the first vital 48 hours and is stable, but is still extremely critically ill.”

Emma with 17-month-old Izzy, stepson Charlie and husband Tony. Photo from Leanne Gottschalk. SUS-211229-124301001

Emma is now being treated at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

Victoria Gottschalk, Emma’s friend and sister-in law to Leanne, said due to covid Emma hasn’t been able to see her doctor for ‘almost three yeas’ so her lupus has ‘slowly been getting worse’.

Lupus is a condition that affects the immune system and there is currently no cure. It is when the body mistakenly attacks healthy parts of itself and can cause problems with your skin, kidneys and other organs.

Leanne said, “It has since been discovered, a lupus flare-up has caused her blood to thin and bleed into her lungs, and this is what has caused her to be so poorly. She is in the best place possible with St Thomas’ having the best lupus unit in Europe. However, we also want to raise as much awareness as possible about the severe complications that can arise with systemic lupus erythematosus.”

Now Leanne and Victoria have set up a funding page to raise money to help Emma’s family, which includes 17-month-old Izzy with chronic lung disease.

Money raised will allow the family to stay in London to be with Emma, as well as help with childcare and travel costs.

Victoria said, “If she recovers, the recovery process is going to be very long and we need all the support we can get.”