‘I just keep crying and crying’: Teenage girl, 19, who thought she had the flu is forced to have her limbs AMPUTATED due to a deadly disease
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
- Rohalia Thomas believed she had come down with the flu in September last year
- She quickly succumbed to meningococcal – her legs and hands were amputated
- Ms Thomas is unclear if or when she had the meningococcal vaccine
Published: 23:46 EDT, 1 July 2019 | Updated: 23:46 EDT, 1 July 2019
A 19-year-old girl who thought she had the flu before needing her legs and arms amputated has issued a desperate warning about meningococcal disease.
Rohalia Thomas, from Bidyadanga in Western Australia, believed she had come down with the flu in September last year.
She was in Perth for the Royal Show when her condition worsened and she was rushed to Royal Perth Hospital in an ambulance.
Her limbs quickly succumbed to meningococcal disease and her legs, right hand and most of her left hand were amputated, Seven News reported.
Rohalia Thomas, from Bidyadanga, 190 kilometres south of Broome, believed she had come down with the flu in September last year
‘Oh, I couldn’t describe it,’ she said, adding she was ‘lucky to be alive’.
‘I just keep crying and crying every time I see it,’ she said.
Photos show Ms Thomas with blackened fingers and toes that were unable to bend completely.
Since her amputation she has head several surgeries and is undergoing rehabilitation to relearn how to use her body.
Her physiotherapist Jasmine Zupan said Ms Thomas is making progress in her rehabilitation.
Her limbs quickly succumbed to meningococcal disease and her legs, right hand and most of her left hand was amputated
Ms Zupan said using the prosthetic limbs has come ‘naturally’ to Ms Thomas, and she has to remind other patients Ms Thomas makes it look easy.
Ms Thomas said as soon she tried walking she was keen to keep doing it.
She also has learnt how to cook again and modify behaviour to suit her current situation.
Ms Thomas is unclear if or when she had the meningococcal vaccine or where she caught the illness.
WHAT IS MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE?
Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that can cause death within hours if not recognised and treated in time.
There are five main strains of the infection, each of which now have a vaccine available in Australia.
Although the majority of victims will recover fully, 10% of those infected will die, and around 20% will have permanent disabilities.
If left untreated, the disease is fatal.
Amputation is not uncommon. Neither is organ failure and kidney damage, with extreme cases requiring long-term dialysis.
Babies and children up to five-years-old account for two-thirds of cases due to their less mature immune system