WeHo Meningitis Victim’s Family Releases Statement, Calls Reports ‘Irresponsible’

brett shaad
Brett Shaad.

Brett Shaad, a 33-year-old West Hollywood realtor, died from bacterial meningitis after being removed from life support Saturday evening, according to his brother Brian Shaad.

“Tonight our family made the incredibly difficult decision to remove my brother Brett from life support. He died peacefully surrounded by our family and friends,” said Shaad in a news release.

Brett Shaad, who was being treated at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Beverly Hills, was removed from life support Saturday night at 6:24 p.m. and died at 6:42 p.m.

“Brett was an extraordinary person. He was a loving son, brother and grandson, an attorney with a deep passion for social justice, and a dear friend to so many people. We cannot believe that this wonderful person is gone. We love you Brett,” said Brian Shaad.

During a mid-afternoon press conference Friday, West Hollywood Councilmember John Duran identified Shaad as the man gravely ill with bacterial meningitis and later that night tweeted that Shaad had been taken off life support.

But a spokesperson for the family, Elizabeth Ashford, alluded to the misinformation that Duran spread Friday in the news release from Brett Shaad’s brother.

“The Shaad family asks for privacy at this painful time, which has been made more devastating by irresponsible and inaccurate reports on the circumstances of Brett’s death. The family wants, and will pursue, answers for how and why this happened,” Ashford said.

A number of media outlets, including WEHOville, reported that Shaad had died late Friday based on a statement Duran made on Twitter, which said “sad to report our friend and resident with meningitis has passed.”

In a phone interview with the LA Times, Duran said that Shaad had died at 4:45 p.m. Friday after he was taken off life support.

However, a number of media outlets, including the LA Times and Associated Press, later ran updated stories quoting Ashford as saying Shaad was declared brain dead but remained on life support Friday afternoon.

Quoting a coroner’s investigator Saturday, the LA Times reported that Shaad was indeed pronounced dead at 3:40 p.m. Friday.

Duran called the Friday press conference to warn the city’s gay community about the deadly strain of bacterial infection, which has similarities to the one circulating among gay men in New York City that has resulted in seven deaths since 2010.

At the press conference, Duran said Shaad had attended the White Party during Easter weekend in Palm Springs. The White Party is an annual event that attracts thousands of gay men from California and across the country. Duran advised those who had attended the White Party to see a doctor if they had any symptoms of the disease.

Jeffrey Sanker, promoter of the White Party, said “From what we known to date, the origin of the outbreak is inconclusive.”

Information about the disease on the World Health Organization website suggests it is unlikely that Shadd was infected at the White Party, which took place March 29-31. WHO says the average incubation period for meningococcal meningitis is two to four days, although it can range between two and 10 days. The Meningitis Vaccine Project reports that 10 percent of those treated die, usually within 24 to 48 hours of infection. Shaad died 12 days after the White Party ended.

0 0 votes
Article Rating

14 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
voolavex
8 years ago

Another news source reports a 2nd person died in December from this same strain of bacterial meningitis. The deceased is alleged to have been a gay man. Just to point that two deaths – four/five months apart that happened to gay men does not – DOES NOT an epidemic make nor does it make this illness a “gay disease”. This form of the disease is not spread by casual contact and travels via saliva (spit swapping, coughing, hankies). Before the entire city gets its collective knickers in a twist – sadly folks die from this illness worldwide. There is NO… Read more »

kab1200
kab1200
8 years ago
Reply to  voolavex

I give up Chloe, you win. No one said it was a gay epidemic, but since two gay men have died from it, there is nothing wrong with alerting the community. Not sure why that is so hard for you to understand.

chloe ross
chloe ross
8 years ago
Reply to  kab1200

I understand and I do not think Mr. Duran was the right person to make any statements regarding medical issues. Neither do I think the LGBT community needs to be singled out because of these few cases of meningitis. Would it have been any different for the “Asian” community or the “Latino” community or the “African American” community to have a spokesperson speak out before the “medical” community did? That is what I object to and in light of the many struggles being fought NOW by the LGBT community at large – the outspokenness of Mr. Duran, to me, sheds… Read more »

Snarkygal
Snarkygal
8 years ago
Reply to  kab1200

I have not heard or read that it was the same strain anywhere. Just that it was a death from meningitis.

kab1200
kab1200
8 years ago

Hey Chloe, I am not defending Mr. Duran, I am just saying that, exact facts or not, it is better to be aware of the situation, than not. Therefore, I think he did the right thing. Yes, the facts have been somewhat muddled, but again, better to alert anyone who may have had close contact with the guy than not. He did publicly apologize.

kab1200
kab1200
8 years ago

This is an issue of public health, Duran did the right thing. It is obvious who does not like him here. End of story.

chloe ross
chloe ross
8 years ago
Reply to  kab1200

kab1200 – It may be an issue of public health but how does that make anyone but a PH official the person to comment on the risks and/or potential of this risk. At the very least Mr. Duran could have been accompanied by such an official or quote such an official. Bacterial meningitis is saliva born and before making it into a group specific epidemic possibility think about how saliva is transmitted. Kissing – lots of people kiss, sneeze, cough, spit and it is also a consideration whether this bacteria can live and for how long outside the body. I… Read more »

Don Jones
Don Jones
8 years ago

Does the city have a policy for press conferences? Or can any council person call a press conference and put the city in jeopardy of a lawsuit?

A friend
A friend
8 years ago

Duran should resign. This was a terribly ignorant assumption on his part that has hurt people close to Brett.

chloe ross
chloe ross
8 years ago
Reply to  A friend

I cannot see that happening (but do not disagree with you) but he should make a very public and caring apology to the Shaad family and to the residents of WeHo for the ugly panic he may have
caused. Not every gathering – gay or straight – is a disease vector.

chloe ross
chloe ross
8 years ago

No matter how much of a “public service” Mr. Duran believed he was doing, it will be fascinating to see if he makes an apology publicly at this week’s City Council meeting or anywhere else.

chloe ross
chloe ross
8 years ago

Condolences to the family of Brett Shaad. Meningitis is a disease – in any of its forms – that does not chose its victim by gender orientation, age, race or religion. Mr. Duran was in error and very disrespectful to the privacy and sadness of this man’s family. In future – as Snarkygal suggested – he should avail himself of the many avenues for obtaining correct information available – without cost – to him. Respect the wishes of the Shaad family and allow them to mourn for their beloved.

Marco Colantonio
Marco Colantonio
8 years ago

At the onset, all details and facts are sketchy, but Duran was not inaccurate about the potential health danger to our community and I applaud him for his concern and efforts. I thank him for being a Council member and for playing a pivotal role in making vaccinations available as early as today. Thank you John and AHF!

Snarkygal
Snarkygal
8 years ago

I am saddened to learn that the inaccurate comments John Duran made upset the family of the deceased man. They are not the only ones who wants answers as to how and why this occurred. I believe he was trying to help, but I also believe he wanted to be in the spotlight again. Being brain dead and being dead are two different things.

Stick to playing Councilman Mr. Duran. Don’t alarm a population without cause. At least research the disease before you make comments like about the White Party and this disease.

Click to Hide Advanced Floating Content

0 0 votes
Article Rating