There is no doubt concerning the innumerable lives that are saved by the hard work of medical practitioners across the globe. Having a well educated health-care provider is a God-send for parents with small babies in particular, because of how vulnerable babies are, to begin with.
According to the HCUP (HealthCare Cost and Utilization Project), 1 out of 6 patients in American hospitals were children, with a majority of these being infants and newborns. There is clearly a large demand for babies to be given medical attention because of how vulnerable they are, and in most cases, babies are diagnosed and treated effectively.
However, not every parent to walk into the doctor's office came out with solid advice and solved problems. There have been many cases when doctors have misdiagnosed diseases in small babies; some of these diseases were life threatening, and others not so much. In several situations, parents lost their little ones due to a doctor not taking their symptoms seriously, or reading the symptoms the wrong way.
Read on below to educate yourself, and save yourself from much-unneeded pain concerning potential misdiagnoses your baby may receive; based on incidents that occurred in real life.
15 They Said It Was Just ADHD
Michigan State University has uncovered that nearly 1 million children are misdiagnosed with ADHD in the US. One mom, in particular, had a gut feeling her son was suffering from seizures, even though he was not shaking uncontrollably; simply vomiting and passing out every few nights. When her son was 9 months old he was developmentally behind and at 18 months it was clear that he had problems grasping concepts, the doctors feared autism or ADHD.
This mom thought otherwise. She said it just hit her like thunder one night as she watched her son going through his vomiting and passing out session which now at 5 years of age, had become almost routine to her and her husband. She just knew he was having seizures, which are the hallmark trait of epilepsy. All of her doctors pointed out that her son must suffer from ADHD, a common disorder in young children which can be linked to chaotic lifestyles and excessive television watching. This mom wasn’t buying it.
She put all her energy into focusing on the correct diagnosis and was actually relieved when she discovered her son was having seizures, too much electrical activity in his frontal lobes which was causing him developmental problems. Pediatric epilepsy is very common, yet by far one of the most misdiagnosed. Unfortunately, there is no real cure for epilepsy, but knowing the correct diagnosis at least helped the family understand the true reason for their child’s developmental delay, and will hopefully lead to less epileptic occurrences and maybe even a cure in the future.
14 ‘No Ma’am, It Is NOT Intussusception’
One particularly haunting misdiagnosis occurred just over a year ago in May 2016. A couple found their little baby, Kyan, going pale with pain and throwing up. They immediately rushed to the hospital and were told he simply had a Gastrointestinal infection. The worst part of this misdiagnosis was the fact that Kyan’s grandmother actually asked the doctor if the baby could be suffering from intussusception, an intestinal disorder because he had all the symptoms of it. The nurse and doctor both brushed it off lightly.
Intussusception can be cured easily by surgery and is quite common in baby boys. The doctor, however, did not even consider it and sent him home. The next day little Kyan had gone limp and was almost lifeless. They took him back and this time the doctors accepted that it might be intussusception and arranged for an ambulance.
After many miscommunications and delays, an ambulance arrived but it was too late. Kyan could no longer hold on and passed away. He could have survived, the family knew the problem but the doctors wouldn't accept it. So please, no one knows your child better than you, if you feel like something is wrong, you should definitely push for treatment and tests, it could save your baby’s life.
13 They Mistook Her Disease As...
One mom had a traumatizing experience with the government due to a misdiagnosis of her baby’s symptoms as if the disease in itself wasn’t emotionally taxing enough. In January 2016, an American mother rushed her 4-month-old daughter; Eloise, to the doctor because of a seizure Eloise was experiencing. After that day, her daughter continued to act normally but the doctors said they during a CT scan they had found a healing buckle fracture on her leg and a small brain bleed, which only occur in two cases; a car crash or physical abuse. They diagnosed Eloise with Shaken Baby Syndrome.
This mother actually had her daughter and son taken away from her by Child Care Workers and she was left with nothing. She did not give up and continued to work with her lawyer, getting various tests for Eloise until it was finally discovered that Eloise had suffered from vitamin D deficiency Rickets and that is why she had the healing buckle fracture. Her brain bleeds were because of seizures caused by an undetected UTI. This mom got her kids back but only after an entire year of worry, fear and fighting.
Shaken Baby Syndrome is actually quite commonly misdiagnosed. The worst part about this misdiagnosis is that it not only prevents treatment for the baby but also literally rips families apart.
12 It Was Really Lung Disease
Respiratory viruses are common in infants, but in some cases, difficulty breathing and flu like symptoms can be more than just Parainfluenza. That’s what happened with a mother whose 6-month-old boy started having difficulty breathing. He was diagnosed with Parainfluenza and given medicine accordingly. However, his condition did not improve and he continued to struggle with breathing. This mother went as far as moving to another City in order to get better air for her child but his condition worsened and he was misdiagnosed again with Cystic Fibrosis.
After more medication and testing, it was finally revealed that he had NEHI (Neuroendocrine Cell Hyperplasia of Infancy.) He was finally given appropriate medication and oxygen and his phases of losing breath have decreased dramatically since.
11 They Said She Had No Heartbeat
It’s one thing to have your baby misdiagnosed with a life threatening disease but what about having your baby misdiagnosed with death itself? One mother went through a nightmarish experience where only her will to see her baby brought about a happy ending. This woman was told at her ultrasound that the baby had no heartbeat. The doctors went as far as to give medication for her to abort her baby.
The mother refused to accept it and went to another clinic in which astoundingly, the heartbeat was found! Her daughter was born perfectly healthy. What would have happened if this mother had followed the doctors advice and taken the abortion medication? Talk about a major misdiagnosis, this just goes to show that a second opinion is definitely worth the time.
10 They Didn’t Even Consider Her Allergies
Living in the information age gives us a huge advantage, especially when it comes to figuring out what’s upsetting our infants. One mom states that her baby was up all night crying for three nights in a row. The constant crying didn’t seem like colic, but more as if her baby was in pain. When she notified the doctor the doctor misdiagnosed the crying as night terrors. Night terrors, as most parents know, are little spells of crying children express at night time after having seen a vivid bad dream.
This mother spent all night searching the internet and decided Soy Milk could be the culprit. She stopped giving her baby Soy Milk and the crying stopped. No doctor knows your child the way you do. A doctors opinion should definitely be sought and followed, but if the diagnosis sounds unreal to you, taking it into your own hands may just solve your problem.
9 It Wasn't Just Reflux...
In May 2014 a tragic misdiagnosis occurred in which a newborn, 9 days old, died of Whooping Cough. His teenage mother had brought him to the hospital three times because of his coughing and projectile vomiting, but all three times she was turned away and told that she was over feeding him. After thoroughly insisting, she was given the diagnosis of Bronchitis and no treatment was given to her son because he had to ‘fight it off’ himself.
He was eventually admitted and put on a life support machine, but it was too late. The real reason for the cough was only discovered after the poor infant passed away. He had contracted Whooping Cough. Perhaps it was the mother's young age which made the doctors accuse her of panicking, but whatever the case nothing can justify taking such severe symptoms so lightly, especially in a newborn child.
8 Teething Didn’t Take Her Baby, Their Misdiagnosis Did
In some cases doctors do not notice all the symptoms, but in this case all the symptoms were clear and present but the doctors dismissed them with a wave of their hands; the result? Death. One mom took her 6-month-old to the emergency because he had rashes, a fever and slight Paralysis, all red flags for Meningitis. He was sent home with the simple diagnosis of teething, on three different occasions! Rashes and fevers can be taken lightly and attributed to teething, but Paralysis?
The doctors explanation was that the infant had probably pulled his elbow. Three days after this diagnoses he died with Meningitis. The enraging fact about this misdiagnosis is that all the symptoms were present but they were not even considered, the doctors did not take this little boy seriously and the result was him losing his life.
7 They Said He Was Permanently Disabled
Wes and Melissa Klor had a difficult birthing experience which resulted in their baby having the Umbilical Cord wrapped around his neck. The doctors were able to save him, but it was clear that the temporary oxygen deprivation had done some serious damage. In the first six months of life infant, John Klor hardly showed any signs of growing like an ordinary infant, especially in terms of his motor skills. He was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is a motor disease which limits movement. Wes and Mellisa Klor state that they had made their minds to have to invest large amounts of time in taking care of their child for the rest of his life as Cerebral Palsy has no known cure.
Their lives changed when at around 12 months of age the doctors realized that it was not Cerebral Palsy, but instead a metabolic disorder which prevented his body from processing protein, leading to an inability to move his muscles. Medication was given and results were immediate, infant John went from not being able to move, to running around in just a few months. It’s very fortunate that doctors discovered this at such a young age because he was able to recover fully, but once again this incident is a reminder to take every diagnosis with a grain of salt and to keep on looking until you are sure.
6 They Said It Was Down Syndrome
A couple was informed at their 12-week ultrasound that their baby was developing a thick Nuchal fold (at the back of the baby’s neck). This was a red flag for Down Syndrome and a host of other life threatening health problems. The couple, who had spent tremendous amounts of time planning their perfect family, were thrown into dismay and were considering aborting the baby or looking at possible treatment plans for after the baby was born. After months of expensive, time-consuming testing and retesting it was gratefully confirmed that there were in fact no health problems at all.
The baby’s neck was fine and so was everything else. They had a beautiful healthy baby boy who remains healthy to this day. Misdiagnoses of a baby before it’s born is so dangerous because the couple could have chosen to abort their child and in turn, could have lost this little soul they had been blessed with. Gratefully, they opted for a second opinion and in turn got to keep their healthy baby boy.
5 Their Misdiagnosis Caused Him Permanent Damage
An unfortunate case occurred in New Zealand where a 3-month-old infant was left disabled because doctors failed to note his symptoms and misdiagnosed him twice. Mr. And Mrs. Burton rushed their infant to the emergency when they noticed he had a rash and was vomiting. The doctors believed it was a Gastrointestinal disorder and sent him home. Three days of trying to get a proper diagnosis later, he was finally diagnosed with E-coli meningitis in the emergency room.
E-coli meningitis can generally be treated with antibiotics, but since the diagnosis took so long the infant had already been left brain damaged so severely that now as a toddler he is a quadriplegic alongside suffering deafness and blindness. This life destroying misdiagnosis is a strong reminder for us as parents to act immediately when we feel that something is wrong with our babies. The most heartbreaking thing is that if he had been properly diagnosed on the first day, he could have been a perfectly healthy toddler today.
4 They Said She Wouldn’t Live...
Being misdiagnosed because of confusing symptoms can be understandable, but what about being misdiagnosed because your baby is developing the way it should? One mother and father were told their child would most likely be born with Trisomy 18, a genetic defect that causes mental and physical impairment. The ultrasound technician had detected black dots in the baby’s brain which is a marker for Trisomy 18.
After going for another ultrasound and genetics test and spending sleepless nights worrying about her baby’s future, the mother was informed that her child would be fine and the dark spots had been because she was accidentally called in for her 20-week ultrasound at 17 weeks. Her baby was developing normally, the dark spots are common in the fetus before 20 weeks. This mother had to suffer countless days of depression and worry all because of a mistake with her appointment date.
3 It Took Ten Years
Is your child showing extremely high levels of frustration and anger? They may be suffering from Lyme disease. According to Lymedisease.org the CDC has admitted that Lyme disease is greatly misdiagnosed and under diagnosed even though it has become very common in children. Lyme disease is often left undiagnosed until it has spread across the body and caused real damage to the body, especially the nervous system.
One mom says she discovered that her child had been suffering from Lyme disease after 10 years of her daughter contracting it. Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric syndrome is a potential side effect of Lyme disease which causes your child to have obsessive habits, including extremely high levels of anger and frustration. If your child has been acting up, especially after having a rash it won’t hurt to get them tested for Lyme.
2 It Wasn’t Autism
One mom relates her story of how her child's unbelievably irrational behavior led her and all the doctors to believe he had autism. Her older son was perfectly normal, but her younger one would scream and cry in every situation; outings, baths, bedtime, meal time. Life was just a blur. The most alarming factors were how her son did not respond to being called and even seemed to enjoy pain.
All her doctors thought it was autism but one of her doctors was not convinced, she sent him for testing, and it was uncovered that he had a Melatonin deficiency alongside other processing disorders. He is getting treatment and has improved very much since the correct diagnosis was made. The danger of categorizing a child with an ASD is that there is really no cure for it and it labels children in a way that no further medical help is sought, even though it is much needed.
1 They Almost Took Her Son's Hearing
One mom had her son diagnosed with severe hearing disabilities and put on hearing aids as an infant. Since this was her fifth child Haleh knew her son could hear well, with the hearing aids on he was flinching at loud noises and clearly uncomfortable. She went in for another diagnosis and it was discovered that her son had Auditory Neuropathy. He heard noises perfectly fine but the noises were distorted as they reached his brain.
There have been many cases in which wearing hearing aids actually caused deafness in children with Auditory Neuropathy. This mother saved her sons hearing by removing his hearing aids when she realized they made him uncomfortable. However, she only followed her gut because it was her fifth child. She says; ‘if it had been my first child I would have done exactly what the doctor told me’.
Having a doctor to look after our children is a great source of hope and relief. Well regulated medical care is indeed a great blessing and should be sought out every time you fear your little one has a sickness, but it is vital to keep in mind that medical practitioners are humans too and they can make mistakes in the diagnosis of our children.
At the end of the day no one knows your child better then you, and with the vast amount of authentic medical information available online, you can spend time and energy that a doctor does not necessarily have to ensure that your child has been diagnosed correctly. If you feel you child has been misdiagnosed do not be afraid to go in for a second opinion, because it could easily save your child’s life.
Sources: CNN.com, Mamamia.Com, TheMisdiagnosedLife.com, DailyMail.com,Sheknows.com,WellRoundedNY.com, EssentialKids.com, LymeDisease.org,ABC.net