herald

Friday 9 December 2016

‘Buy meningitis drug to stop others suffering like Emily’, mum tells HSE

Emily Casey from Dalkey, Co. Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts with her parents, Stephanie and Dermot after the High Court approved a €4.75million payment to her following a High Court action.
Emily Casey from Dalkey, Co. Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts with her parents, Stephanie and Dermot after the High Court approved a €4.75million payment to her following a High Court action.

A Dublin mum has told how her daughter faced a terrifying battle for life after contracting meningitis.

Stephanie Casey (59), from Dalkey, Co Dublin, is now urging the Government to roll out the new Meningococcal B vaccine, so other children won’t have to experience what her daughter Emily went through.

Ireland’s National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has recommended the inclusion of Meningococcal B vaccine in the primary immunisation programme, if the vaccine can be made available at a cost-effective price. 

Emily (19) contracted Meningococcal B meningitis (MenB) and septicaemia in October 2000 and has been left with a severe disability. She can’t walk and is confined to a wheelchair.

“It is 15 years ago since my then four-year-old daughter Emily had MenB, resulting in devastating consequences,

including acquired brain injury and two years spent in hospital,” Stephanie said.

“MenB has given Emily 15 years of ongoing disability and suffering.

“It came completely out of the blue. She had just a tiny temperature on a Saturday night and when we woke up on the Sunday morning, her legs were turning black and blue from the bottom up, and we called an ambulance straight away. She started vomiting blood before the ambulance came, and then her lungs were filling with blood in the ambulance. She was basically dying,” Stephanie told the Herald.

Coma

Thankfully, Emily did survive but she faced a long battle ahead. She was in a coma initially, but after about seven weeks she began to respond.

Emily was in Crumlin

Hospital for five months and required grafts after nearly losing both legs. She was then transferred to the National Rehabilitation Hospital.

“We would love to see every child in the country get the vaccine,” said Stephanie.

“It has been 15 years of hospitals, operations, pain, suffering, rehabilitation, steps forward, steps backwards,” said the mum-of-four.

Speaking in advance of the Meningitis Research Foundation’s (MRF) national meningitis awareness week, Stephanie said that she is anxious for the vaccine to be rolled out for children in light of her daughter’s battle with the disease.

There are approximately four cases of meningitis and septicaemia in Ireland every week. The diseases kill one in 10 and leaves one in three with life-altering conditions.

“We are now entering a situation whereby children in Northern Ireland are protected against MenB and our children are not. With that in mind, we urge Minister Varadkar to introduce the vaccine as soon as possible and we will continue to lobby for its swift introduction,” said Diane McConnell, deputy CEO of MRF.

A statement from the Department of Health said that the immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC).

Further information is available at www.meningitis.org

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