Vaccine Preventable Suffering – Jamie Schanbaum
On November 13th 2008, Jamie Schanbaum was rushed to Seton Hospital thinking she was having an asthma attack. Two days later, Jamie and her family learned she had contracted meningococcal septicemia. This disease is similar to meningitis. Instead of infiltrating the brain and spinal cord, the bacteria infects the blood. Meningococcal septicemia has a higher fatality rate than typical meningitis. The state health department informed us that one in ten people is a carrier of this particular bacteria which resides in the nose or throat. You can have it and not be affected by it, but something as simple as a cold or a stomach virus can cause this bacteria to work its way into your blood system, which is what happened to Jamie. Jamie survived, though sadly she lost her legs and fingers. They had to be amputated as a direct result of her infection. Jamie’s plight inspired her to educate the public about Meningitis. Her goal is to prevent others from needlessly suffering from this vaccine preventable disease.
Since leaving the hospital, Jamie has shown tremendous strength and perseverence as she endeavors to promote awareness of this disease and its consequences. In the summer of 2009, Senate Bill 819, a.k.a. The Jamie Schanbaum Act, requiring meningitis vaccinations of college students, passed despite two previously unsuccessful attempts thanks to Jamie and her supporters.
For an ABC news report on Jamie’s story, prior to the amputation, click here.