Taken Too Quickly: A Father’s Story

11 Jul

The other day a father who had lost his 19 year old son to bacterial meningitis called me to share his story.  The father’s pain was so raw, as it had just been four weeks since his perfectly healthy son died. This young man who died was a college student, worked as a manager of a donut shop, and volunteered with special education kids. He just had his braces taken off on a Monday, felt sick on Tuesday, went to the doctor on Wednesday, who sent him directly to the ER, where he died four hours later.  No time for goodbyes, no time to make sense of what was happening.

I hear too many of these stories.  Was the young man vaccinated?  No. Did the parents know about vaccination?  No.  I heard the pain and disbelief in the father’s voice.  In the four weeks since his son had passed away, the father has done extensive research on meningococcal disease, trying to understand this disease that swooped down out of nowhere to steal his son’s life. Yet still, he had so many questions.  How could this happen, and how did it happen so fast?

I don’t have the answers to his questions.  I only know that his son should have been vaccinated, and that everyone involved – health care providers, parents, schools, legislators – all of us need to do a better job to make sure this does not keep happening.

How many of our children need to die before every adolescent and young adult is routinely vaccinated against this disease?

3 Responses to “Taken Too Quickly: A Father’s Story”

  1. shelly July 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Children die FROM vaccinations also. While no parent wants to lose their child and this is a sad story, it is fear mongering and lacks evidence.

    • epi September 30, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

      There is plenty of evidence that children are more likely to die of diseases because they weren’t vaccinated. Deaths from vaccines are extremely rare. I would suggest you review the scientific literature

    • Ashley October 21, 2011 at 11:44 pm #

      Shelly, this is an unconscionable comment. This is not fear-mongering. This is truth. Far, far more children die from vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccines save lives. Period. Absolutely everything that comes out of the anti-vax movement is scare-mongering at its worst. Don’t insult the parent of a deceased child by saying his story is fear-mongering. It’s truly unconscionable to do so.

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