“Misdiagnosed five times,” mum says about toddler's sudden death

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The most common cause of acute kidney injury in kids, HUS destroys red blood cells and clogs the kidneys' filtering system.

When two-year-old Greyson Dunham first fell ill, his symptoms came on suddenly. He started vomiting and experiencing diarrhea.

Concerned about her son’s health, mum Kayla Dunham didn't think twice before going to the doctors.

Greyson’s affliction puzzled the doctors after they failed to pinpoint its exact cause.

“At first, the family was told it was stomach flu, then indications that the boy’s intestines may have been folded over each other, then possible problems with his appendix,” the TODAY story said. “As time went by, Grayson started having intense abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea.”

Kyla said that doctors misdiagnosed her son five times before they finally came to the conclusion that Grayson had an E.coli infection.

“We were misdiagnosed five times before they said, yes this is HUS,” Kayla recalled.

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, hemolytic uremic syndrome can strike after an E. coli infection of the digestive system.

The most common cause of acute kidney injury in kids, HUS destroys red blood cells. It also clogs the kidneys' filtering system.

“Dangerous strains of E. coli can be found in undercooked meat, unwashed contaminated fruits and vegetables and contaminated juice,” the TODAY report said. “Animals can also spread E. coli.”

When Grayson’s stool sample tested positive for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, the Dunhams tried to track down how their son got the infection, but the local health department told them that they may never know the source because it have come from a lot of things.

Despite receiving care at the ICU of a children’s hospital in Indianapolis, Greyson’s health deteriorated.

Eventually, despite the doctor’s best efforts to save him, Greyson passed away five days after he fell ill.

“My heart is in shock, I'm numb, and I don't have words for what even happened,” Kayla wrote on a Facebook post about her family’s ordeal.

Also on her post, she said that until now doctors aren’t sure why Greyson’s health deteriorated so quickly.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says that although HUS can be life-threatening, most children recover from it without long-term health problems.

In fact HUS’ mortality rate is below 10%.

Advocating awareness about HUS

Now Kayla uses her experience to inform other parents about HUS’ symptoms.

She also encourages parents to advocate for their children if they fall ill. Parents need to ask questions, do their own research. They also need to be aware that they can demand for a stool sample test.

“It is a parent’s worst nightmare,” she said. “He had never been sick... When you think of things happening, you think of severe illnesses like cancer or car accidents. You don’t think of E. coli.”

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Written by

Nasreen Majid

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