Patient Perspectives: How Meningitis B Affects the Body

In this video, pediatrician Dr. David Hill leads a discussion about meningitis B (MenB) and the devastating effect it can have on the body.

 

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Transcript

00:00
[MUSIC PLAYING] When you're in your early 20s, the thought that you're dying, it never crossed my mind.
00:12
I'm Dr. David Hill. I'm a pediatrician in Wilmington and Goldsboro, North Carolina. And today, I'm joined by John, Eileen,
00:19
and Tim, as well as Andy and Linda, to discuss meningitis B. I have one student that is a sophomore in college.
00:28
And I think that he had a vaccine, but I'm not sure. I need to check with my pediatrician. So I guess one of the questions would be,
00:36
what do I need to ask my pediatrician? There are two flavors of meningococcal meningitis.
00:43
And therefore, two different vaccines. The one that we are most familiar with is a quadrivalent vaccine, and it
00:52
protects against four different subtypes of meningococcus That has been the standard part of the vaccine regimen
00:59
for quite a while now. A lot of kids start that when they're 16. And recalling your sophomore's vaccine record,
01:07
it's almost certain that that's the one that she's already had. The question is, did she get vaccinated
01:14
against the other kind of meningococcus, meningococcus B? I want to turn our attentions now
01:22
to John and Eileen, who had a daughter who was affected tragically by type B meningococcal meningitis.
01:32
Caitlin was at Marist College up Poughkeepsie, New York. She was experiencing all these flu-type symptoms
01:40
quite severely. And about 2 o'clock in the morning, we got a phone call that her roommates had called an ambulance.
01:47
So we just-- we jumped in the car and we drove up there. Within a half hour, they were intubating her.
01:55
JOHN: She was awake and lucid when we got up there, but she was in pain. That was Monday morning.
02:02
EILEEN: That was Monday morning. She died Wednesday. JOHN: So Wednesday is when she passed away. She had her-- Vaccine. --the vaccine that was available at the time, she had.
02:10
EILEEN: Mem B was not out. Yeah, it's very rare. Cate was the only one on the campus that got it. This shot is so important.
02:16
If she had had that shot-- so I would recommend everyone getting covered for it, no matter how rare it is. It's one of those things where if it does happen to you,
02:26
you're gonna regret not having it. I was a senior in college. I was actually probably in the best shape of my life.
02:33
And then one night, I started to feel sick. And again, all of those early symptoms
02:39
were all flu-like symptoms. By the next morning, I literally couldn't walk. Thousands of little purple spots had kind of appeared on my arms
02:48
overnight. I mean, I can certainly remember actually telling my friend who came to check on me, I don't know if I've ever felt this sick before.
02:57
Within 24 hours, I was being airlifted to Kansas City to the nearest level one trauma unit
03:04
and spent the next three weeks in a coma. Then when I woke up, I realized I couldn't
03:11
move my hands and feet. And the plastic surgeon came in and explained that the bacterial infection had traveled
03:18
throughout my bloodstream and had cut off the circulation to my extremities. And my arms and legs had been without proper blood flow
03:27
for the better part of a month. But I still ended up having the front half of both of my feet amputated and all of my fingers amputated
03:35
except for my right thumb. It was quite a journey and something I wouldn't wish on anybody. You know, both of these stories to me
03:43
point out some of the really most important things to understand about meningococcal meningitis,
03:51
which is how rapidly it progresses. And meningococcal disease just seems
03:58
to have a bullseye on the healthiest people we can possibly imagine, and one of the scariest things
04:06
to address as a patient, a parent, or a clinician. Andy, what advice do you have for Linda today,
04:14
as a patient who's going through this? I mean, my first advice to people is always to strongly consider getting the vaccine,
04:23
especially if you're gonna be in a group living situation like I was. It's proven safe and effective in clinical trials.
04:30
And then, I mean, the other things, you know, practicing good hygiene, like we talked about. That wasn't-- wasn't always necessarily my strong suit
04:38
in college. I can definitely remember times when me and some other people maybe shared the same drinks or the same water bottle.
04:45
That kind of thing. One of the things we did is we had these refrigerator magnets made with a picture of our daughter
04:52
and all the symptoms on it. We want to try to prevent that from ever happening again. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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