The paramedic team credited with saving a Launceston teenager’s life by administering fast treatment for meningococcal disease have been showered with praise during the past week, but they consider it all in a day’s work.
Paramedics Dave Munting and Scott Mineall attended Alex Beaumont, 15, almost a fortnight ago and treated him for meningococcal disease so successfully he was out of hospital within days and on his way to full recovery.
They treated Alex with high-dose antibiotics before taking him to Launceston General Hospital, so treatment had already started before doctors ordered the blood tests and lumbar puncture that confirmed meningococcal meningitis.
Ambulance Tasmania acting regional manager Alistair Shephard said all paramedics were trained to act fast in such situations.
“Being able to recognise a set of signs and symptoms and then act on them is in Ambulance Tasmania’s treatments and guidelines. Any one of our paramedics would be expected to do that and treat the patient rapidly,” Mr Shephard said.
“The meningococcal bacteria can lead to meningitis and septicemia. It can be rapid and irreversible so it is important that it is recognised quickly and managed quickly.”
In Alex’s case the rapid treatment from Mr Munting and Mr Mineall lead to full recovery.
“It resulted in a good outcome. This is one of many occasions that happen on a day-to-day basis,” Mr Shephard said.
The swift meningococcal treatment provided by the paramedic team was commended by Public Health acting director Scott McKeown.
“Symptoms can become life threatening within hours. Early clinical suspicion, diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics are vital,” Dr McKeown said.
This support was backed up by Health Minister Michael Ferguson.
“Our front line health workers are to be congratulated – both our Northern paramedics and our LGH hospital staff – for their constant professionalism and care,” Mr Ferguson said.
“We are grateful for the outstanding work they do to help Tasmanians every day and I join the Beaumont family in our gratitude for the services and care.”
Symptoms of meningococcal disease include fever, severe aches and pains, headache, drowsiness and confusion. Infants can be distressed, limp, pale and feed poorly.
Less common symptoms are lung infection (with fever, cough, chest pain and difficulty breathing), or severe throat infection.
Anyone concerned they have meningococcal disease symptoms should seek emergency medical care.
While you're with us, did you know that you can now sign up to receive breaking news updates direct to your inbox? Sign up here.