The hospital staff "tried to brush off" her baby's symptoms, but this mom rightfully "insisted something was wrong."

By Rebecca Macatee
Updated: May 01, 2019
Steve Debenport/Getty Images

May 1, 2019

As a parent, there are times that you just know something's not right with your child. It might not be as obvious to other people—even doctors and nurses. But as the mom of a baby with a life-threatening infection wants other parents to know, you should trust your instincts—even if the professionals think you're overreacting.

This mom on a mission posted her daughter's story to Reddit as a PSA for other parents. She explained how her 6-month-old baby had been acting lethargic, running a fever, groaning (but not crying) and blinking strangely "like her head was in pain." The pediatrician's office was closed, so Reddit Mom took her baby to a pediatric hospital nearby.

But according to her post, the hospital "tried to brush off" her daughter's symptoms. The nurse said the baby did have a 102-degree fever and appeared congested, so they "suctioned her throat," gave her Tylenol and told mom, "she must have RSV [Respiratory Syncytial Virus]."

Reddit Mom told the hospital staff that her baby had RSV months before, and she knew what the symptoms looked like. This was different, she said, "but they insisted, and they sent us home."

The next day "was a blur," and the baby "had high fevers that wouldn't go down with ibuprofen and Tylenol on rotation." Reddit Mom "kept reassuring myself that this was normal for a viral infection and it would get better in a few days," but the following day, things "took a turn for the worse."

The baby "stopped wanting to move," stopped eating and only urinated once all day. Her neck was swollen, and Reddit Mom knew something was wrong. This time, she rushed her daughter to the E.R., where again, her concerns were downplayed.

A different nurse told Reddit Mom they "would give her [daughter] some Tylenol and IV hydration and see how she was doing." The nurse "felt [the baby's] lethargy was due to dehydration," but Reddit Mom, "told her absolutely not and asked her to please just humor me and check her blood."

They did, and it turned out, Reddit Mom was right: The baby's blood test came back showing a high white blood cell count that the doctor said "was highly unlikely to be caused by a virus." At this point, the hospital staff acknowledged the baby most likely had a bacterial infection and admitted her for treatment.

The doctors did an X-ray and a CT scan before diagnosing her with a retropharyngeal abscess, which is a potentially life-threatening infection between her airway and her spine. "For her age it's incredibly rare and could require surgical drainage if the IV antibiotics she's on don't reduce it," said Reddit Mom. "We will be here for the week."

It's been three days since the baby was admitted to the hospital, and Reddit Mom is still wrapping her head around what could've happen if she hadn't been insistent about her daughter's care. "I truly think I'll need therapy," she told another parent. "The realization that she would have died is hitting me so hard." And it's why she's strongly urging other parents to "please, please trust your instincts!"

"You know your kid better than anyone," she said. "Don't let someone tell you something is fine when you know it's not...If you feel something is off, fight for what you think is right. It doesn't matter if you come off as a pushy parent, your child is way more important."

Fortunately, Reddit Mom spoke up in time to get her daughter the treatment she needed. "She is doing better," she told Parents.com in an email Wednesday. "No fevers, [and she's] on her own, without Tylenol. She's still on IV antibiotics but they think they will transfer her to oral soon, and we more than likely won't need surgery, which is a blessing."

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