Family of girl who died from meningitis ask public to be aware of symptoms

A Middlebury family lost their daughter in a matter of days and are now urging the public to be aware so they don't go through the same thing. 

Abbigayle Dipietro's parents are heartbroken following the death of their 10-year-old little girl. She died from bacterial meningitis last Wednesday.

According to her mother Tasha Dipietro-Anderson,  who resides in Elkhart Country, "she had an earache Saturday. We took her to the ER and they said it was just an ear infection." 

She explained that by "late Saturday night, she started vomiting, and the doctor said she would have headaches and vomiting, fevers, with the ear infection so that it wasn't anything to worry about." 

Tasha and her husband were unaware of what meningitis even was. So they did nothing more until Monday when Abbigayle began experiencing seizures.

The doctors tested for flu and other sicknesses until finally doing a bone tap to test for meningitis. Having determined that it was the illness, they started a procedure.

Sadly, there was a problem that put Abbigayble in a coma. By Tuesday, her brain stopped functioning. Then, "they gave [the family] the time of death as 6:30 pm [on Wednesday night]," Tasha said. 

Abbigayle was part of the Middlebury Community Schools system. Other parents now fear their children might be at risk of getting sick.

Elkhart County health officer Dr. Lydia Mertz informed the public: 

“The child may complain of a sore throat or earache. Then they have muscle aches, their neck may be stiff, they may have trouble nodding their head or moving around, they may have body aches.”

Mayo Clinic offers other symptoms of meningitis to be aware of as sudden high fevers, light sensitivity, lack of appetite, skin rashes, hyper sleepiness, and increased confusion. 

Meanwhile, Abbigayle's parents are in mourning following their loss. Yet they are warning the public of what could happen to them. 

Tasha instructed:

"If there are any of those symptoms, whether you think it’s just a migraine or flu, push to have as much blood work and testing done as you can. If we would have known what it could have led to, would have probably tried to do more."

They donated their daughter's organs to scientific research.

Tasha said: 

“I wanted something good to come out of it, so we donated her organs. I’m hoping that they can find recipients for everything.”

The community support they've received has been substantial. On Facebook, a fundraiser was started to obtain $1,200 to cover medical expenses.

The date of the memorial service for the young girl was given as February 22 at 5 pm in the Middlebury Church of the Brethren.

Another young child passed away from meningitis in September of last year. Alfie's death came just 12 days after he got sick on his first day of school. 

The four-year-old contracted Meningitis B, but the vaccine for it had been introduced just over a year before he was born. This meant he did not get it. 

He woke up on September 11 with a purple rash. At the hospital, doctors determined he had meningococcal septicemia. His organs began shutting down. 

Pediatrician makes vaccination to small boy | Photo: Shutterstock

Pediatrician makes vaccination to small boy | Photo: Shutterstock

By September 23, Alfie stopped receiving life support and died at midday while his parents surrounded him with love. They are now urging others to make sure they get the vaccine in case they missed it.

Earlier last year, another young girl's illness was misdiagnosed when her parents brought her in. Layla-Rose, six, was said to just have some bruises and a viral infection.

When her discomfort persisted, her mother took her back. Eight hours later, the young girl passed away. An investigation was done into the negligence of the hospital and the medical authorities as the probable reason behind the death of Layla-Rose.

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