NAU student in a coma with uncommon form of meningitis, daddy shares a warning

FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) –

A Northern Arizona College student remains in the ICU with an unusual type of meningitis that began with exactly what she believed was a cold and a sore throat.

“She’s extremely outbound, she loves being outdoors, she wants to travel,” stated Shawn Dennstedt.

He states his child, environmental science major Lianne Dennstedt, had been feeling under the weather the week she returned to campus on Aug. 26.

The 19-year-old was about to start her sophomore year at NAU. Her daddy says she wasn’t going to let a cold keep her from making it to her first class.

But it only got worse from there.

“She was at school by herself for several days. Her roomies had gone out of town, so I believe she just curled up into a ball and just stated, ‘This is going to pass’ and by the time that she understood that it was substantial, it was kind of far too late,’ said Dennstedt.

The infection had actually spread to her lungs, triggering pneumonia, and into her back fluid causing meningitis.

“Fusobacterium. So the meningitis didn’t come from an outside source. It was basically produced from her own body,” stated Dennstedt.

The once-healthy, fun-loving woman is now in a coma at Flagstaff Medical Center.

“She’s 19 years old, however she’s still our child. And to walk into a healthcare facility room and see her connected to all the ventilators and all the makers, it’s a scary experience,” said her father.

Her moms and dads, in from California, are now taking shifts watching over her at the medical facility.

“Take note of your own body,” said Dennstedt. “A lot of people they don’t want to go to the medical professional. They think this will pass.”

They say they do not think she might have given the germs to anyone else, however her daddy states this is a great pointer for everybody to get a meningitis booster shot if they’re due.

“I remained in the Marine Corps for six years. I was a deputy sheriff for 24 years. I have actually seen a great deal of interesting things, a lot of frightening things, been in a lot of frightening circumstances and this is hands down, hands down the worst. Nobody must have to see their kid like this,” he said.

They expect Lianne’s recovery to be a long one. They’ve established an online fundraising event to assist spend for expenses not covered by insurance and travel costs to and from their home in California.

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