Meningococcal survivor sings praises of public hospital
MINYAMA'S Mal Watson knows he is lucky to be alive after contracting a strain of meningococcal nearly three weeks ago.
But the 59-year-old considers himself even luckier he was able to be cared for by the staff at Nambour General Hospital.
Less than a week after being discharged, the still unwell Mr Watson took time out to sing the praises of the health service for which he says more people should be thankful.
Mr Watson contracted a bacterial meningococcal disease similar to what affected little Sunshine Coast boy Finn Smith's body late last year, resulting in the amputation of parts of his hands and feet.
Mr Watson's case is the second invasive meningococcal reported in the Sunshine Coast and Gympie health district this year.
Four cases, including Finn, were reported last year. Mr Watson spent two days at death's door with doctors watching him around the clock and the hospital chaplain called in to "pray with me". But Mr Watson was put on the correct medication immediately and was able to begin to recover within days.
He also avoided having to have the amputations which are often necessary if the blood becomes infected, causing septicaemia, as occurred with little Finn.
Mr Watson attributes his quick healing to the high-quality paramedics and health service he encountered in Nambour.
"The service is fantastic," he said yesterday.
"The intensive care I received was over 100%.
"I had four doctors there one night standing by my machines because they were worried about me.
"The first two days I was in were really critical; my kidneys closed down and I was being monitored 24 hours a day.
"The staff in the intensive went out of their way to help me. They were a happy, well-oiled team.
"I'd like to tell all the whingers and moaners on the Coast who complain about Nambour Hospital to think again."
Mr Watson realised something was wrong with his body when he "woke up spewing at 2.30am" on April 11.
His doctor treated the vomiting later in the day, but his wife called an ambulance when he did not appear to get any better.
They noticed the tell-tale "purple spots" on his arm.
This is the third "near-death experience" he has had in the past three years.
He also received treatment for cellulitis 18 months ago and nearly had to have his leg amputated.
"I really appreciate the health service we get after being in hospital and seeing what they have to do," Mr Watson said.
"The service is 100% plus. The beds were fantastic, too."
Public Health physician Dr Andrew Langley said invasive meningococcal disease was rare, but it "is a severe disease when it occurs".
Only those in close contact to Mr Watson needed to be notified of a potential risk, he said.