Helping to make sense of Emma-Kate’s ‘senseless’ passing

Emma-Kate McGrath’s legacy will live on thanks to a social media page set up in her honour to push awareness about meningococcal, the disease that took thelife of the Ballarat nursing/paramedic student earlier this year.

The 4EK Facebook page was set up only a few weeks ago by a family friend, who was with the McGrath family when 19-year-old Emma-Kate, fondly referred to as Emma, Em or EK,died on May 3 this year of meningococcal septicaemia strain W.

Within 72hours of the page’s launchit had reached 160,000 people and received more than 7000 followers, including her favourite blogger Uncanny Annie.

“The 4EK page was set up to provide information and awareness to all members of the public about the various strains of meningococcal, the vaccinations available and the signs and symptoms,” the friend said.

4EK was also set up as a “need” for those who loved her to do something positive in Emma-Kate’s memory at a time when it was so difficult to make any sense of what happened and what good could come of her death.

The close friend of Emma-Kate’s parents vividly remembers the day the bubbly teenager died.

“My husband and I were at the hospital with the family the night Emma-Kate passed away. I recall sitting in the grief waiting roomand thinking over and over to myself, ‘How could this have happened? She was immunised against meningococcal’.

EDUCATION: Emma-Kate McGrath’s family and friends have started a Facebook page to educate people about meningococcal.

“I, like so many others had no idea at this stage there were more than one vaccination available and more than one strain of meningococcal that was so devastating and deadly.

“It wasn’t until the strain was identified (W) and the medical staff explained the strains and that there were several vaccination types that we all began to realise how scary this disease was and how important it was that everyone in the community become aware of this information in a hope to prevent another family losing a loved one.

“The other significant thing that alarmed me … was that in the 24 hours prior to her passingEmma did not present with what I would have considered the ‘tell tale’ signs of meningococcal.

“I said to so many people, I always check my kids for a rash that doesn’t go white when you push on it and a stiff neck … Emma had neither of these things.

“Her main symptoms were severe stomach pains and consistent vomiting. Again, this set off alarm bells – we needed to make sure everyone understood that meningococcal doesn’t always present in the ‘classic way’ we all thought it did.”

It was Emma-Kate’s dedication to her paramedics studies, her volunteer work in Cambodia and a life spent looking out for others which promptedthe 4EK information page on Facebook.

October, 2016: Emma-Kate McGrath and Jaya Keogh with items for the Loreto College gold online auction for Cambodia.

“This was beyond our wildest dreams and I sat in tears looking at my favourite picture of Emma-Kate and thanked her for helping us save other people when I saw the statistics (of howpopular the page was),” the family friend said.

“The page is not aimed at raising money or even raising sympathy for anyone – it is simply there to try and help.”

Emma-Kate graduated from Loreto College in 2016 and had begun her studies at Australian Catholic University training to be a paramedic.

The world was her oyster and her future seemed exciting and full of opportunities.

She was the centre of everyone in her family’s world and had an enormous group of friends who she adored and who adored her.

She was her mother’s best friend, her father’s princess, her brothers’ amazing sister and the most caring, kind, loving friend to so many.

Since Emma-Kate’s death,the stategovernment brought forward the new immunisation for four of the strains on meningococcal (A,C,W & Y) that is now being rolled out to all 15 to 19-year-olds for free untilDecember 31.

Through the 4EKpage, her family and friendswant to make sure everyone in thatage group is aware of the immunisation program.

Those not aged 15-19 are being urged to seetheir GP to receive thesame immunisation, along with a vaccination for meningococcal B.

A LIFE CUT SHORT: The family and friends of Emma-Kate McGrath hope by educating the community through the 4EK Facebook page, her legacy will live on.

How avibrant young life was cut shortOn May 2 this year, Emma-Kate woke her mum, Abby just before midnight saying she felt sick in the stomach, was freezing and had a headache.

Emma took two painkillers and got into bed with her mother.

At around 1am Emma-Kate vomited, had a shower and said she felt better, but still had a stomachache and headache.

At 2am she woke again and was given more painkillers and wasasked if she thought she should go tohospital.

Thinking it was just a bug, Emma-Kate refused. When she woke 6am she vomited again and was feeling worse.

At this stage, the 19-year-old, who had been immunised against meningococcal C as an infant,did not have the usual tell-tale signs of meningococcal, a rash or stiff neck.

Abby called her local doctor first thing in the morning and made an appointment for Emma – the first available was 5pm that day.

By 11am Abby knew her daughter had more than theflu or a bug.

She insisted she take Emma-Kate to hospital.

As she was helping her down the stairs Emma said she felt like she was burning, she had severe pains in the stomach, a headache and was very weak.

She was too sick to get to the car, so Abby made the decision to call an ambulance.

Ambulance officers told Abby they weren’t sure if she needed to go to the hospital, saying it was most likely just “a gastro-type bug”. But, Abby said she’d feel more comfortable if they took her and they happily agreed.

After arriving at the hospital Emma began vomiting constantly and had freezing cold feet.

The nurse pushed her up the list to see a doctor quickly.

Emma’s main symptom, at this stage, was still severe stomach pain.

A team of around six doctorsascertainedshe had a virus of some sort, but the symptoms weren’t fitting with any specific diagnoses and none of the treatments they were trying were making any improvement.

At 4.30pm, doctors were confident Emma had a strain of meningococcal.

At this stage Emma-Kate was transferred to ICU.

Her blood was thinning and they were transfusing her with platelets and her organs were starting to shut down.

At this point she started to develop a rash which was spreading quickly.

Doctors advised Emma-Kate and her family that she needed to be placed in a coma.

Her family all got to see her and speak with her before she was placed in the coma.

In true Emma-Kate spirit she smiled and told her parents and brothers that she loved them and that she would be better when she woke up.

The amazing doctors and staff did all they could to save her, but the strain was severe and it took hold of her quickly, despite her strong fighting spirit.

Not long after she was placed into the coma Emma-Kate went into cardiac arrest.

The first time her heart stopped she was able to be revived and everyone breathed a sigh of relief, but only for a moment.

The second time her beautiful heart stopped beating, despite everyone’s best efforts, she lost her battle surrounded by those that loved her most and who she loved most.

Her body could not take any more; the meningococcal septicaemia W was simply toxic and had taken hold of every part of her body and poisoned her whole system.

“Emma-Kate’shuge legacy will continue through education and awareness in the hope other families and friends don’t ever have to endure the pain meningococcal has caused for those in Emma-Kate’s life,” the family friendsaid.

Emma-Kate’s family is urginganyone with Facebook to like the 4EK page and share it so it continues to reach as far and wide as possible to spread awareness and save lives.

The Courier, Ballarat

Stand together and tell them all: this horror has to end

OUR SHAME: Being appalled at the federal government’s treatment of asylum seekers is not enough. People need to unite so our children don’t have to be ashamed.

AS Australia takes its seat on the UN Human Rights Council, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has announced drinking water, food and fencing will be removed from the Manus Island Detention Centre on November 1.

One day, our children will be ashamed of us for letting this happen.

For a country that puffs and preens itself with prissy holier-than-thou pronouncements while it coerces its neighbours in the Pacific, Australia’s actions defile that seat with shameless hypocrisy.We are used to seeing this though, pompous figures strutting about in full costume on the world stage, flaunting their fake regalia. From the bluster of Trump to the silky cunning deals cut by Turnbull.Is a matter of routine, unremarkable?No! Many people are aghast at the prospects now facing the brave men of Manus, held hostage for four years. The men who, as Walid Zazai wrote in a message from Manus, are “Australia’s human shields. We are the rocks to stop boats.”

Walid wrote “while closing one detention centre, Australia is opening three more in dangerous places on Manus Island … Many of us have already been attacked with machetes, robbed and beaten by locals. The local people don’t want us here.

“Last week, Australia said we can go to Nauru. Many of you know that there’s nothing on Nauru except kids, women and men suffering the same harsh treatment as us.”

This cruel, illegal, incredibly expensive horror has to end. Heroes are emerging in PNG, where the risks of political activism are high. Andrew Kutapae, General Secretary of the PNG Greens said: “If the asylum seekers are forced to return to their own country, they will obviously be tortured and crucified to death. Paying them $25,000 and returning them back to their country is paying for their death penalty.”On Manus, some courageous locals have formed a group – Manus Alliance Against Human Rights Abuse. They pledge to support the Manus Provincial Administration and provincial government to pursue avenues to end Australia’s continued detention and human rights abuse.

But there are no heroes in our Opposition. Only bean counters. On August 18 I emailed an urgent plea to Labor, begging for protection from planned attacks by the navy. Two months later, the response from the ALP back room was that they were dismayed with the Turnbull government.

And as I write this, I have found out that the Manus centre will be taken over by the PNG navy after October 31. Australia is leaving refugees defenceless against the navy – the people who shot into the detention centre last Easter.

Most Australians are appalled at what is being done to these innocent people. But that is not enough. We have to protest in our thousands because it’s numbers that count. It was numbers that lead the ALP to resume the “Pacific Solution”. It will be our numbers that are needed to end it. We plead again to the Labor Party, to adopt as its policy the closure of all Australian-funded offshore detention centres, and the resumption of onshore processing.

Don’t let Walid and his friends down. Don’t let our children be ashamed of us. Don’t stand by and let this happen. Stand up and speak out with people across Australia and the world, who are holding loud, peaceful protests in support of the brave hostages on Manus.Stand in solidarity from 5 to 7pm on Thursday, October26 at Civic Park, on the corner of King and Darby streets.

Niko Leka is the convenor of Hunter Asylum Seeker Advocacy

There will be blood on the Congress floor

When Ange Postecoglou suggested his surprise revelation that he probably wouldn’t be coaching the Socceroos at the next World Cup should they qualify had done Football Federation Australia boss David Gallop a backhanded favour, he wasn’t completely wrong.

Postecoglou, speaking at an FFA function, finally fielded some questions about his future plans. OK, it was a stage-managed occasion in front of a hand-picked audience with a presenter from the FFA’s host broadcaster asking the questions, but it was a start.

More to the point, his quip that since his bombshell there had been no talk about whether the Socceroos should employ a back three or how the political impasse over the way the sport’s Congress would be composed in the future, was essentially true.

The former will be resolved for good or ill in the upcoming games against Honduras, which will determine Australia’s World Cup fate.

The latter, however, is unlikely to go away as the seemingly endemic war between the sport’s governing body, the FFA board headed by its embattled chairman Steven Lowy, and the A-League clubs, continues.

The FFA is determined to stick to its guns and next month plans to hold an emergency general meeting to ratify its proposed new make-up of the Congress.

The latter is threatening to block the Lowy-led board’s initiative at every turn, including using court action to seek an injunction to prevent the EGM taking place.

It’s hard to see how this can end well as the prospect of FIFA intervention to take over the governance of the Australian game looms in the background.

The clubs could drop their long-running antagonism to Lowy and his colleagues, accept the proposals and fall into line under the new rules.

But they have argued those changes would vest control of the game in the board’s hands through the block vote of their vassals, the state federations, who would have a clear majority in the Congress, so that’s about as likely as pigs flying.

Lowy could back off, accede to the wishes of the clubs and the PFA (the players’ union) and accept that the model he is proposing is insufficiently broad-based and extend the voting franchise on Congress a little to please all parties.

But snow may fall in the Sahara at the height of summer.

This looks like a struggle to the end because the passions have been inflamed and the personality struggle has now become so bitter that there is no simple or straightforward way out.

Certainly there is little sign of an escape route for either party which would not look like a climbdown.

It would appear that there are three possible outcomes.

The EGM will take place in November, FFA will push through its plans and the courts will back the governing body in the event of a legal challenge. Lowy wins, and then it will be down to FIFA as to whether it accepts the new set-up.

The clubs take legal action, tie the board up in court, the EGM cannot proceed, FIFA’s deadline arrives and the sport’s global governors declare a plague on all your houses and take control of the game on an interim basis.

Or the clubs say enough is enough and break away, establishing an independent A-League which it will then use as the major bargaining tool to leverage some kind of peace deal with the FFA – probably on condition that Lowy goes.

Don’t we live in interesting times …

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Vincentian bishop backs Australian priest

Criticism: Port Stephens woman Wendy Stein and Vincentian Bishop Rolando Santos in Papua New Guinea. Bishop Santos has criticised Ms Stein for reporting sexual abuse allegations to police.A PAPUA New Guinea Catholic bishop says he will reinstate an Australian Vincentian priest to a PNG high school despite a police investigation of allegations involving school students, and a church investigation confirming the priest touched students’ legs and sometimes slapped them.

Bishop Rolando Santos said Australian Vincentian priest NeilLams was“firm, upright and committed” and he was not changing the priest’sassignment as chaplain to the PNG school. The bishopreservedthe right to take defamation action against people, including school teachers, who complained about the priest’s behaviour.

A churchinvestigation report, which Bishop Santos supplied to theNewcastle Herald,found no evidence to support allegations Father Lams sexually abused two female students at a Catholic high school in eastern PNG.

But investigators for the PNG Catholic Church Office of Right Relationships in Ministry found evidence of confessional“incidents”, where Father Lams touched students on the legs and asked questions about sex that left students“embarrassed or scared or hurt or surprised”.

Investigators also accepted the priest sometimes slapped and hugged students andsqueezed themon the cheeks, but rejected the actions were sexual.

The priest’s approach was“inappropriate when compared with the usual way a confession is conducted”, investigators found.

Support: Papua New Guinea Vincentian Bishop Rolando Santos with Australian priest Neil Lams.

Father Lams told investigators the slapping and hugging was in “a playful, fun way. This is all innocent”.

Bishop Santos criticised Port Stephens woman Wendy Stein, who runs a family planning project in PNG supported by Australian Rotary, for reporting allegations to police in September following concerns about a Catholic Church investigation of the allegations against Father Lams that started in March.

In an email to the Herald Bishop Santos confirmed the police investigation. He said police did not object to Father Lams travelling to Rome with him this month to attend400thanniversary celebrations relating to St Vincent de Paul, who founded the Vincentians.

Father Lams was ordained in Australia in 2011 and served short stints in Sydney, Melbourne and Townsville before requesting a missionary appointment.

It is the second church investigation of sexual abuse allegations against Father Lams in PNG after an allegation in 2016 involving a Port Moresby teenager.

The church investigation report relating to the high school heard evidence from students and teachers that Father Lams saw two female students at his house, “many times at restricted hours”.

The two students denied any sexual contact with the priest and said they helped clean the dishes and his house, while he offered them support.

One of the students described Father Lams as “a good, honest priest”.

Investigators criticised the priest for homilies by him during Sunday Mass after evidence they “pinpointed” teachers and could be construed as personal attacks.

“We conclude that there is some truth in this concern,” the investigators found.

The report recommended the priest reduce physical contact with students and asking “intrusive” questions during confessions, and observe school rules, “especially the boundaries between student and priest”.

In June the Vincentians released an interim child protection policy at the order’s St Stanislaus College at Bathurst during an apology to more than 160 former students who alleged they were sexually abused by Vincentian priests.

In the policy the order said it recognised “that there are a number of potential risks to children in the delivery of ministry within the Oceania Province”, which includes Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

The interim policy includes that Vincentian representatives should “take responsibility for ensuring that I do not place myself in situations where there is a risk of allegations of child abuse being made”.

The policy also includes that Vincentians should not “smack, hit or physically assault any child”, and it was mandatory for any concerns about child sexual abuse to be reported to church representatives and civil authorities.

Oceania Province head Father Greg Brett, who delivered the apology to St Stanislaus students, was contacted for comment.

Lupita Nyong’o accuses Harvey Weinstein of harassment

???Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has joined the chorus of women accusing disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.

The 34-year-old, who won an Academy Award for her breakout role in 12 Years a Slave, has penned a harrowing first person account of her interactions with the Hollywood producer for The New York Times.

More than 30 women have come forward in the past fortnight to accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment and, in some instances, rape. On Friday, Nyong’o joined the long list of actresses – including Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow – who have gone public with explosive allegations.

The Kenyan-Mexican actress said she first met Weinstein at a 2011 awards ceremony in Berlin while she was still at university. Not long afterwards, the movie mogul invited her to his home under the guise of attending a film screening.

Prior to attending his home, Weinstein invited her to lunch and repeatedly insisted she should drink vodka because he was the one “paying the bill”.

“We got to his home after lunch and I met his domestic staff and his young children,” Nyong’o wrote in The New York Times. “I settled in for the film, but about 15 minutes in, Harvey came for me, saying he wanted to show me something. I protested that I wanted to finish the film first, but he insisted I go with him, laying down the law as though I too was one of his children.”

The actress said she complied with his request because she didn’t want to have another “back-and-forth” in front of his children and staff.

“Harvey led me into a bedroom – his bedroom – and announced that he wanted to give me a massage,” she wrote. “I thought he was joking at first. He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe. I panicked a little and thought quickly to offer to give him one instead: It would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times.”

The 12 Years a Slave star said she used the massage to buy herself time while she thought of a way to leave Weinstein’s home. But before long he said he wanted to take off his pants.

“I told him not to do that and informed him that it would make me extremely uncomfortable,” she wrote. “He got up anyway to do so and I headed for the door, saying that I was not at all comfortable with that. I opened the door and stood by the frame. He put his shirt on and again mentioned how stubborn I was. I agreed with an easy laugh, trying to get myself out of the situation safely.”

The actress then goes on to detail how, later – under the guise of attending a screening in New York – Weinstein said she should come up to his private hotel room.

“I told him I preferred to eat in the restaurant,” she wrote. “He told me not to be so naive. If I wanted to be an actress, then I had to be willing to do this sort of thing.”

Nyong’o ultimately declined the offer, and was swiftly bundled into a waiting taxi. The Academy Award winner said she has chosen to speak up now in the hope it contributes to “the end of the conspiracy of silence”.

“I wish I had known that there were women in the business I could have talked to,” she wrote. “I wish I had known that there were ears to hear me. That justice could be served. There is clearly power in numbers. I thank the women who have spoken up and given me the strength to revisit this unfortunate moment in my past.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.