A grieving NSW mother, whose teenage daughter was sent home from hospital a day before she died from meningococcal, has warned others to be aware of the potentially deadly symptoms.
Central Coast student Mischelle Rhodes, 19, came down with a fever last Tuesday, but was sent home from hospital with painkillers and died the next day.
“The hospital did some blood tests, gave her Nurofen, gave her Panadol and sent her home,” the student’s mother Anjini Rhodes said.
“They said she was okay.”
By Wednesday morning, Mischelle was getting worse and began vomiting.
Her mum took her back to Gosford Hospital and by lunchtime there was quick-spreading rash.
“And she told me, ‘Doctors told me I’m going to die’,” Ms Rhodes said.
“She told me ‘Doctors told me I’m going to die’.”
Her organs were failing and Mischelle died that afternoon.
“I thought she was going to be okay… [she was] such a healthy, beautiful girl. I didn’t think this was going to happen,” the grieving mother cried as she described her pain.
“It just took my beautiful girl away so fast.”
Symptoms to watch for include sudden onset of fever, joint pain, nausea, vomiting, headache, neck stiffness, sensitivity to light and a blotchy rash.
Her mother issued a warning to parents and others presenting symptoms, saying: “Don’t leave hospital until everything’s been looked at.”
Mischelle is the second meningococcal fatality on the Central Coast in a month, following the death of a 38-year-old woman. But the cases are not linked.
There have been 41 meningococcal cases across NSW this year, including three which were fatal.
“It can strike pretty much anybody and at any age,” NSW Health’s Dr Peter Lewis said.
“We see cases at all ages and throughout the year, but this is actually the time of year where we tend to see more cases occurring.”
A free meningococcal vaccine is available for children aged 15 to 19.