WARNING – GRAPHIC IMAGES: A woman has survived the fight of her life after she was suddenly struck down with meningococcal, resulting in the amputation of four limbs.
Three months ago Kannika McClelland went from a healthy and active woman to being admitted to the emergency room, requiring a quadruple amputation of her arms and legs.
According to a GoFundMe page, the woman, who grew up in Thailand but now lives in Western Australia, has had to change her whole life to deal with the consequences of meningococcal sepsis.
Her kidneys have also been damaged and she has to have dialysis several times a week.
“Our sister has spent most of her adult life as a health care worker, a job she would still be doing today if not for this cruel attack on her body,” the GoFundMe page said.
“She would be the first person to give help to someone and the last person to ask for help herself. We are so proud and lucky to have this level of care to help our Kannika through this life-changing event.”
The page said they could not give her back her limbs, but hope to ease the financial burden on her while she learns to live life without her arms and legs.
“The rare infection has caused her permanent disabilities. We cannot change what has happened or give back her limbs, but we hope to ease her financial burden by raising some funds to help her in the next 12 to 18 months,” the page says.
“Kannika even hopes to get part-time work through Mission Australia as it will give her a sense of purpose, dignity and indicate she is not completely limited by her disabilities.”
Meningococcal disease – symptoms and causes
According to WA’s Department of Health, meningococcal disease is uncommon but can be life-threatening if contracted.
“The disease is a result of a bacterial infection of the blood and/or the membranes that line the spinal cord and brain,” its website says.
“Although treatable with antibiotics, the infection can progress very rapidly, so it is important that anyone experiencing symptoms of meningococcal disease seeks medical attention promptly.
“At any one time, approximately 10 per cent of healthy people carry meningococcal bacteria harmlessly in their nose or throat, and do not become ill. Rarely, however, a small proportion of people will develop serious ‘invasive’ infections.”
Vaccination is crucial
After falling ill, Ms McClelland went into a coma and woke to find her limbs black as a result of the disease.
“I cried every day, I don’t want to see that, I just wanted the doctor to [operate] and cut it off,” she told Nine News.
“I just thought like, ‘Oh I did something wrong, I did something, why [did] it happen to me’.”
She told the network she did not know how she contracted the illness but she had not been vaccinated in Thailand. She now wants to encourage others to protect themselves against meningococcal.
“It’s good to have the vaccination because you don’t know where you get this disease,” she said.
As Ms McClelland opened up about her ordeal earlier this week, a young adult died from the disease in WA.
The Department of Health said it was one of two cases in WA so far this year and both were serogroup W, a strain that has risen in prevalence globally for more than a decade.
There were three deaths from meningococcal disease in WA last year, two being serogroup W.
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