Miami man dies from bacterial meningitis

Bryant de la Cruz treated at Baptist Hospital

MIAMI - A 24-year-old man died Wednesday after being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.

Bryant de la Cruz was Diego Gonzalez's best friend. Originally from the Columbia, the two met in high school.

"We were like brothers. We spoke every day," said Gonzalez.

On Monday, Gonzalez couldn't reach de la Cruz. About 10 p.m., he saw a picture on his friend's Facebook page saying he was sick.

Bryant de la Cruz was admitted to Baptist Hospital, where he was complaining of a headache and fever. He was discharged early Tuesday.

But when he got home, de la Cruz felt worse, and on the way back to the hospital, he lost consciousness.

Then Gonzalez received a call.

"On Tuesday, I got a call from the hospital. He had died and they wanted me to confirm the body," said Gonzalez. "He was 24 years old. This shouldn't have happened to him."

Bryant de la Cruz would have turned 25 on Thanksgiving Day.

In October, Coral Reef Senior High School student Christopher Valdez died from bacterial meningitis.

Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis include nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, and confusion.

This meningitis is not the same type as last month's nationwide outbreak, which was fungal and traced to the New England Compounding Center.

Baptist Hospital released a statement Wednesday, saying: "We extend our deepest condolences to the patient's family. The patient died at Baptist Hospital, but due to patient privacy laws, we cannot provide specific information about treatment. We continue to work closely with the Miami-Dade County Health Department."

The funeral for de la Cruz will be held at Benardo Garcia Funeral, located at 12050 SW 117th Avenue, at 5 p.m. Friday.

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