Why You Need To Take The Pandemic Seriously (From A Health Care Provider With A Severely Ill Child)

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My Son’s Covid-19 Battle

“Here is where it gets real friends. I’m done keeping my mouth shut.

This isn’t a report coming out of China. This isn’t about Italy. This is about rural Pennsylvania, and what has been scary headlines on the news up until now has evolved into my own personal living nightmare.

When I called the ER about my son Cayden and told them we have had a possible Covid-19 exposure and that we were on our way because he was in respiratory distress, the charge nurse instructed me NOT to come to the ER. She told me to call the CDC and suggested that maybe they could send an ambulance to our house to check him out.

(Listen, I treat sick babies in the ER all the time. I don’t bring mine in unless he absolutely needs treatment! Especially now!) Has anyone tried caling the CDC lately?

I called them yesterday and waited on hold for TWO HOURS to finally get to talk to someone who was NOT a medical professional so they were just able to instruct me on current guidelines. This happened all while my child was struggling to breathe.

Young male covid-19 patiently sleeping in hospital bed
Courtesy of Sara Hernandez

My baby could not be admitted at the hospital he was seen at this evening (the ER I work in, where he did receive great care) because they did not have a negative pressure room on the peds floor. (Side note: Our ER did not test him for Covid-19. Regardless of what the news says, we have not tested a single patient at this point because we have to call a hotline and every single time only for them to say they ‘don’t meet criteria.’)

Cayden’s doctor felt he needed to be observed overnight and called the ER again, who REFUSED direct admission despite the doctor’s assessment. My husband is now driving my sick baby an hour away to another hospital to be evaluated all over again IN THE ER. Even then, they made it clear it wasn’t certain that he would be admitted.

He is not hypoxic (his o2 has been 94%) but he is still retracting, tachypneic (breathing fast), tachycardia (heart rate in the high 160s even while sleeping and without fever), and still retracting (you can see their sternum and ribs when they’re breathing this hard).

In fact, he is retracting enough that they decided to transfer him by AMBULANCE to the other ER, to be ASSESSED again, but not necessarily admitted. What in the ever loving heck?!

We have had possible Covid-19 exposure and even though he is positive for flu A, it’s not impossible to have another virus; bilateral pneumonia has been a common radiology finding with Covid-19.

You don’t take risks with sick little babies! Folks, you see how sick people can get even with just the flu! Now we are adding Covid-19 on top of that and we have absolute catastrophe.

This is just the beginning and it could have just as easily been your child. Even if he doesn’t have Covid-19, it’s dramatically impacting his access to care. WE ARE NOT READY.

Crying mom praying over open book
Courtesy of Sara Hernandez

Why We Must Take The Pandemic Seriously

Update: Another hospital has also refused transfer him because of his possible Covid-19 exposure. They are only accepting pediatric patients with Covid-19 risk if they are in CRITICAL condition.

This isn’t just about me or my family, this is about you.

This is the face of a woman who has aged ten years in the past 15 hours.

This is the face of a healthcare provider who goes to work every day at an increased risk of exposure to disease to take care of you and your children, parents, and friends.

This is the face of a mother whose baby cannot receive care because of low risk of Covid-19 contact. The face of a mother who is not allowed to be with her baby in the ER because she herself is extremely ill, hacking, weak with fever and could potentially infect others.

This is the face of your fellow human being begging you to stop the birthday parties, stop the play dates, and stop the travel.

While you are all annoyed at these current inconveniences and joking about the struggle of being stuck at home with your children for who knows how long, I cannot be with my baby while he is very sick.

My baby is not receiving the care he needs because people are afraid and not prepared. In a normal time, this would have been an easy admission 12 hours ago in the first hospital we were at. THESE. ARE. NOT. NORMAL. TIMES.

Please spread the word.

We don’t have enough testing.We don’t have enough supplies. We don’t have enough time. It’s here.

It’s affecting everyone. The elderly, the young adult, the babies…

This is not news hype. This is not social media hysteria. This is not a political agenda.

This is real life, for me…a regular middle class American mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend just like YOU who has done everything right to try to protect the community and my family. However, health care professionals can only protect you and ourselves as much as they equip us to.

Please cry with me. Please cry for help so that our government will hear and start doing what needs to be done so that this doesn’t happen to your loved ones, too.”

Health care professionals wheeling sick toddler in hospital bed
Courtesy of Sara Hernandez

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sarah Hernandez. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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