On four separate occasions, Richard Smith was told his wife Trudy was going to die.
‘‘It’s been a traumatic episode, wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy,’’ he said.
Last month, Mr and Mrs Smith were at home in Shepparton when Mrs Smith collapsed.
That night, she was rushed to Goulburn Valley Health’s emergency department and the following morning was flown to Melbourne.
Doctors JC Kruger and Alex Roman had their suspicions she had the deadly disease meningococcal.
‘‘It’s a bloodstream infection that manifests as a meningitis,’’ Dr Kruger said.
‘‘If untreated, the mortality rate is about 70 per cent ... it can cause multiple organ failure.’’
Their suspicions were confirmed with a blood test the following morning.
The team then had to stabilise Mrs Smith so she could be flown to Melbourne.
‘‘I’ve been a doctor for more than 20 years and have only seen it three or four times, it is very rare,’’ Dr Kruger said.
Mrs Smith spent almost three weeks in intensive care down at Western Health in Footscray, Melbourne.
‘‘If it wasn’t for the work of Shepparton doctors, she wouldn’t be here today ... they saved her life,’’ Mr Smith said.
‘‘They went beyond the call of duty and gave the doctors in Melbourne a great head start.’’
Mrs Smith’s life was in the balance, Mr Smith describing it as ‘‘touch and go for the first week’’.
Around the clock monitoring, along with heavy doses of antibiotics helped her recover enough to be moved back to Shepparton on November 23.
‘‘Once again the hospital has been superb ... everyone in the emergency department was mindful, honest and never held anything back,’’ Mr Smith said.
‘‘The level of healthcare was as good as anywhere I’ve ever seen.
‘‘They appeared to be short-staffed, but just jumped at what had to be done ... their professionalism was just outstanding.’’
On Friday night, Mrs Smith was discharged from the hospital, returning yesterday with her husband to thank their guardian angels.
‘‘I’ve only got a story to tell because of these doctors,’’ Mrs Smith said.
‘‘It’s not about me, it’s all about the hospital; from the start to the finish they were amazing.’’
Both humble, the doctors refused to take credit for their lifesaving work.
‘‘The nursing staff deserve just as much of the praise, it’s a combined effort from the whole team,’’ Dr Kruger said.
‘‘Seeing Trudy alive and well is more than enough thanks.’’