KU freshman dies from meningitis, doctor says vaccine would not have protected her

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Saint Luke's doctor spoke Monday on behalf of 19-year-old Haley Drown who died from meningitis.

The outgoing college student was admitted to St. Luke's South Friday with a sinus infection. Hours later she was taken to Saint Luke's on the Plaza where she succumbed to her illness.

As Drown's family and friends mourn her loss, one doctor is clearing up misconceptions about the illness that took her.

“Haley was a vibrant, talented, bright 19-year-old KU student. A double major in economics and accounting active in her sorority, 4.0 gpa,"said Dr. Len Lozada M.D. He is the St. Luke’s Health System chief physician executive.

Dr. Lozada, says the form of meningitis Drown had was not contagious. He says she never posed a risk to those around her. He says a vaccine would not have protected Haley from the type of infection she had either.

“The difference is this type of meningitis is a bacteria that normally colonizes some of our nasal passages specifically our sinuses. These bacteria in this case became overwhelming and caused an infection that extended to the brain causing the meningitis,” said Lozada.

The 19-year-old, who was said to be very giving, will live on thanks to her last act of kindness. All of her major organs will ensure others have more time with their loved ones.

“The family wants me to convey that it gives them great peace, and great solace to know that Haley even in death is providing a blessing to many other families and many other people,” said Dr. Lozada

According to Drown's CaringBridge site a celebration of her life will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at Presbyterian Church of Stanley.

Drown's family asks that any memorials be made to the Ali Kemp Education Foundation. Drown was also a Blue Valley North graduate.