Disease a challenge for ICU

Meningococcal patient Tammy Penn with nurses Sun Jung and Suncesh Abdul, ICU consultant Kieran Lennon and physiotherapist Sara Lennon. d411936
Meningococcal patient Tammy Penn with nurses Sun Jung and Suncesh Abdul, ICU consultant Kieran Lennon and physiotherapist Sara Lennon. d411936

Her ordeal was the first case of meningococcal meningitis treated by the hospital’s ICU.

While Ms Penn has now returned to her partner’s home in Thornlie to recuperate, she is still processing her experience and has a persistent purple rash on her legs and feet.

‘I get really tired, my feet are sore and my hearing is difficult,’ she said.

She needs pain relief for headaches and is learning to improve her balance.

But she said her nine-day hospital stay made her re-prioritise some things in life and it was in the hospital that she decided to finally accept her partner’s marriage proposal made earlier in the year.

Ms Penn completed a triathlon with her mother four weeks before a bout of what she believed was food poisoning turned deadly.

On November 12, Ms Penn was so ill her children called her partner, Phillip Moeller, to drive her to the hospital.

She passed out in the car and the severity of the illness was not realised until a purple rash on her chest was spotted by a doctor and she was taken into ICU for four days.

ICU consultant Kieran Lennon said Ms Penn arrived at the hospital near cardiac arrest and was resuscitated by a team of doctors and nurses.

She was then treated with antibiotics and placed on life support in the ICU as she had multiple organ failure and severe sepsis (blood stream infection).

As an office manager for a graphic design business, Ms Penn plans to distribute photos of the progress of the rashes to further educate staff at the hospital about meningococcal disease.

She hopes to return to the Kalgoorlie triathlon with friends next year.