A 20-year-old woman lost her twin sister to meningitis after her mom had to do the almost unimaginable: to give consent that the machines keeping Chanelle Otto alive be switched off.
Chanelle, twin sister of Chantelle, sister of Geraldine and daughter of Annthea and Boet Otto, contracted meningitis due to otitis media at the end of August and sadly passed away last week, White River Post reported.
Messages of condolences have been streaming in on social platforms, bidding farewell to this kind and caring young woman with a golden heart and a passion for life.
Chanelle continuously complained about a sharp pain in her ear.
At first, she was treated for otitis externa (ear-canal infection), which later became otitis media (middle-ear infection).
Her condition deteriorated and took its first turn for the worse on August 24 when she could not remember how she got home.
Annthea became increasingly concerned after her daughter fainted in the bathroom the following morning, and she was rushed to Kiaat Hospital.
“She was very confused and could hardly recognise us,” the heartbroken mother recalled.
READ MORE: INFOGRAPHIC: Sidestepping meningitis
Numerous tests confirmed that an infection of the mastoid space behind the ear was the cause of bacterial meningitis.
The illness caused Chanelle to have two seizures on Tuesday, August 30, after which she had to be rushed to theatre to undergo an emergency brain operation to attempt to drain the fluid caused by the seizure.
Although the operation was a success, doctors would have been able to assess the damage as soon as she woke up.
“She was kept in an induced coma for a week, but my child never woke up again,” Annthea said, fighting to accept Chanelle’s untimely death.
“She was a fighter, and we firmly believed that she would wake up.
“But last week, they told me that there was nothing more they could do, and at 10am on Monday, they asked for my permission to turn off the machines.”
Chanelle’s funeral was held on Friday after which she was cremated on Tuesday.
Her family would like to thank everyone for keeping her in their prayers, for all their support and those who made a contribution through donations.
This comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO) said cases of meningitis were expected to increase this coming summer.
According to WHO, 1 146 people in 19 African countries were killed by the virus in 2014.
Professor Lucille Blumberg, of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), said it was important for people to get tested for meningitis.
“There are two different kinds of meningitis: viral meningitis is not serious but can cause prolonged fever and seizures; bacterial meningitis is rare and needs to be given immediate attention, as it can cause brain damage.”
Blumberg said people needed to be more cautious as the summer season drew closer.
– Caxton News Service