Sent home with meningococcal

Dylan Honey was sent home from hospital with painkillers, despite having contracted potentially fatal meningococcal meningitis.
Dylan Honey was sent home from hospital with painkillers, despite having contracted potentially fatal meningococcal meningitis. Bruce Thomas

A YOUNG Valla man who contracted potentially fatal meningococcal meningitis was sent home from Macksville Hospital with painkillers.

Dylan Honey returned eight hours later ‘feeling twice as bad’, waited a further two hours for assistance and then had two more hours of tests before allegedly being told ‘we don’t know what is wrong with you’.

He was then sent by ambulance to Coffs Harbour Hospital where he was ultimately diagnosed with the deadly bacterial disease.

Within two hours of entering the emergency ward there, doctors gave Mr Honey four times the usual dose of antibiotics, guessing the cause of his symptoms.

“They knew they were running out of time and they guessed I had meningococcal meningitis,” Mr Honey said.

“They said another 48 hours and I would have died. I was put on constant Panadol, endone and morphine.”

Doctors at Coffs Harbour Hospital took spinal fluid and found it was milky instead of clear and riddled with bacteria, confirming their suspicions.

According to the World Health Organisation five to 10 per cent of meningococcal meningitis patients die within 24-48 hours and 10-20 per cent of survivors experience brain damage, hearing loss or learning disabilities.

The North Coast Area Health Service would not comment on the issue saying they were ‘investigating’ the incident that allegedly took place on January 20.

After being sent home from Macksville Hospital initially, the 24 year-old slept for three hours but woke up vomiting at 5am and was taken back to emergency.

“They [Macksville Hospital staff] dosed me up on morphine and asked if I felt better and I said of course I feel better and then they sent me home,” Mr Honey said.

He was given three litres of fluid through an IV drip. He told staff he had not eaten nor had any water in two days and that it was too painful to sit up.

“After two hours at Macksville, for the second time, I was told they didn’t know what was wrong with me,” Mr Honey said.

Two people Mr Honey had been in close contact with at Coffs Harbour Hospital were given preventative medical treatment but the antibiotics he took meant the disease was no longer contagious.

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