Vaccine Preventable Death – Becky Werner
Heart-wrenching, but absolutely vital that other parents pay attention. One shot=One human life. It’s that simple.
Age at death – 20 years
Cause of death – Meningitis
Vaccination status – Not vaccinated (confirmed via e-mail by Becky’s mother)
Synopsis – On the morning of Feb 24, 2004, Becky got up complaining she didn’t feel well and her parents suggested that she stay at home, drink plenty of fluids and take ibuprofen, they were sure she had some type of flu. She had been fine the night before and had even gone out to eat with them. When her mother arrived home from work, Becky still did not feel well and said that she had been in bed all day. When she decided to get up for a little while and check her email, she was unsteady and went back to bed without any argument. Thing got worse during the night. She was taken to the ICU. Here is an excerpt, from the website her parents set up.
When we arrived at the ER, we were still convinced that she had some type of flu. The doctor came in and looked at her and said she had an ear infection but her blood pressure was so low. We mentioned to him that her fingertips were blue and she was complaining of her legs falling asleep. Then a flurry of things started to happen and no one was telling us anything. We never left her side and she kept asking us what was happening to her. They told us that she was being transferred to the ICU and would probably stay there for about two weeks. Two weeks for an ear infection? Every time we asked what was going on, all they could tell us was they weren’t sure yet. By the time she did get to the ICU, symptoms started to manifest themselves. No one was calling it meningitis yet. By this time, we were in shock as to what was happening. I have worked in the medical field for 24 years and I could not fathom what was happening to us and especially to her!
The ICU doctor, whom I had known for years, began to unfold what was going on. Some very good friends of ours had arrived and told Becky to call on the name of Jesus and she did! They needed to intubate her immediately. I explained to her what they were going to do and her last words were, “OK, Momma.” The doctor wanted to do it with her awake because, in hind sight, I believe he knew that if he had sedated her she would not be cognizant again. The intubation was too intolerable for her, so he sedated her.
By 8:00 pm, he approached me with tears in his eyes and I said, “She’s going to die, isn’t she?” And he responded with a nod of his head. I asked him what was going to happen next. He informed me that the disease would attack her heart and it would just stop.
By 9:00 pm her heart stopped and she slipped peacefully away with about 30 friends and relatives around her
Becky’s mother responded to my e-mail. Here is an excerpt:
I work in the medical field and I did know about meningitis. When I asked the doctors in the clinic where I worked whether she needed to be vaccinated and I was told that it was not very important because Becky lived at home!! I was afraid that the vaccine was a live virus and if I gave the vaccine to Becky and my other daughter, Annie, that they would come down with meningitis and die and I would blame myself for the rest of my life. Annie was just getting ready to head off to college and live in a dorm and I told her that we would just wait and if there was an outbreak, then we would get her the shot. Little did I know we would be the outbreak!!
Becky fell ill on Tuesday, and was gone by Wednesday. Our hearts and thoughts go out to her family and parents.