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Mother Of Oologah Meningitis Survivor Says District Could Have Done More

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"I was just lying in bed and I thought maybe this medicine won't work for me, maybe I won't get over this and maybe I will die like all of the other kids. And it did scare me to a point," said Karisa Pales. "I was just lying in bed and I thought maybe this medicine won't work for me, maybe I won't get over this and maybe I will die like all of the other kids. And it did scare me to a point," said Karisa Pales.
"I felt like I needed a nap or something," said Bryce Bird, who is a meningitis survivor. "I felt like I needed a nap or something," said Bryce Bird, who is a meningitis survivor.
Bobbie Bird, the mother of a meningitis survivor, says the Oologah-Talala School District waited too long to notify parents that students were sick. She says the district knew a child was sick two days before they alerted parents. Bobbie Bird, the mother of a meningitis survivor, says the Oologah-Talala School District waited too long to notify parents that students were sick. She says the district knew a child was sick two days before they alerted parents.
Health officials tell The News On 6 having more than one case of bacterial meningitis at a time is very unusual and the health department acted early Thursday morning, as soon as they determined it was an outbreak. Health officials tell The News On 6 having more than one case of bacterial meningitis at a time is very unusual and the health department acted early Thursday morning, as soon as they determined it was an outbreak.

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

OOLOGAH, OK -- The mother of a meningitis survivor says the Oologah-Talala School District should have done more to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. She says school officials waited too long to notify parents that students were sick. 

Bobbie Bird says her son has bounced back to normal, but she's still nervous. Her son, Bryce, was in the same class as Andrew Thomas and Shuache Moua, who died after contracting meningitis.

3/16/2010  Related Story: Parents Of Oologah Meningitis Victim Agonize Over Sending Kids Back To School

"Soon as she told me one of his classmates had passed away, my heart went straight to my stomach. You can't breathe. You don't know what to say, what to do," said Bobbie Bird, who is the mother of a meningitis survivor.

Bryce didn't have any symptoms, but Bird took him to the hospital anyway. After he got there, his temperature shot up to 104-degrees in a matter of minutes.

"I felt like I needed a nap or something," said Bryce Bird, who is a meningitis survivor.

"I don't know. I just don't want to take (the hospital bracelet) off. Maybe eventually I will," said Karisa Pales, who is a meningitis survivor.

Still wearing her hospital bracelet like a badge of honor, Pales knows firsthand the fatigue caused by this disease. Her friend's younger brother was also hospitalized with meningitis.

"I didn't think anything of it. I didn't think it was going to happen to me. Whenever I woke up, I thought this is just the flu. I'll get over it. It'll be ok," said Pales.

What felt like the flu at first landed her in a hospital ward for a week.

"I was just lying in bed and I thought maybe this medicine won't work for me, maybe I won't get over this and maybe I will die like all of the other kids. And it did scare me to a point," said Pales.

Pales says the prayers of friends, family and strangers pulled her through that scary moment and put her on the path to healing. And she wants others to make sure they get the vaccine, so they don't go through what she did.

Like Bryce, Pales was lucky.

But Bobbie Bird says these children shouldn't have had to depend on luck. She says the district knew a child was sick two days before they alerted parents about the meningitis outbreak.

"If that would have been done then maybe we could have caught it possibly in the other two. They might have gotten sick, but they might not have passed away," said Bird.

Health officials tell The News On 6 having more than one case of bacterial meningitis at a time is very unusual and the health department acted early Thursday morning, as soon as they determined it was an outbreak.

3/17/2010  Related Story: Experts Hopeful That Spread Of Deadly Meningitis Outbreak Is Contained

A meningitis clinic to vaccinate students and staff from the Oologah-Talala School District was held Friday, but has been canceled for Saturday.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health and Rogers County Department of Health decided to cancel the second clinic that had been scheduled for Saturday due to the severe weather forecast.

The clinic was designated only for students pre-K through seniors attending Oologah-Talala public schools, as well as district faculty and employees.

The clinic vaccinated 1,060 people before closing Friday night at 7.

For those who must wait, a public health nurse will be available Monday through Friday, March 22 through March 26, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., at the Omni Medical Clinic at 13134 Old S. Hwy 169 in Oologah.

For more information concerning vaccine clinics, please call the Rogers County Health Department at (918) 341-3166.

3/18/2010  Related Story: Meningitis Clinic Today, Canceled Saturday In Oologah 

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