We had a rather bad case come in yesterday morning, and we are still shaken up over it ...
A panic-stricken mother called the Emergency Department early in the morning, telling us that her infant son was throwing up. Nothing serious. My co-worker who was manning the phones said that this was nothing major; it was probably due to the stomach virus that was currently floating around Nashville. She told the mother to give the child plenty of fluids and to keep him warm and comfortable.
Several hours passed, and we didn't hear from the woman. Maybe all was well, I remember thinking. Then the phone rang again. It was the same woman, only this time her voice sounded urgent.
"My baby is throwing up blood!! BLOOD!!" she screamed into the phone. She sounded terrified.
I told her to bring the child in; whatever was going on didn't sound good. It could have been any number of things: a burst capilallary. A vicious stomach virus. An abdominal aneurysm: any number of things. I suggested to the waman that her husband (or whoever was with her) bring the child; the woman didn't seem to be capable of doing it by herself.
About ten minutes later, the woman came, along with another woman (it had to be a neighbor, a friend, or her mother), with the sick baby in tow. It was a little boy, roughly about 10 months old, maybe a year at the most. The baby was pale and rather limp: he looked like he wasn't feeling good, the poor little guy, I remember thinking. He clung to his mother's shoulder, whimpering weakly. I knew he would start crying when the nurse would take his vital signs.
Suddenly, without warning, the baby threw up down his mother's arm. The vomitus was blood-tinged. He started crying and waving his arms and legs weakly. The nurse at the desk told the mother to take the child to the E.R., to a table; she would get the paperwork while the medical staff tended to the infant.
The mother reported that her child was always healthy; he didn't have more than the common cold or maybe the flu. She said that up to now, nothing had been out of the ordinary. Then about two this morning, she heard a sharp cry issuing from her son's room. When she went to check on him, she was startled to find that he had thrown up what looked like a goodly amount of bright red blood, she told me. That was when she panicked and called us.
She said he seemed to be feeling better after this, but then he threw up again. Same result. That was when I told her to bring the baby to the E.R.
I quietly put my head down and whispered a quick prayer to Heaven, regarding the fate of this little one. I prayed that it was nothing serious, but if it was, I prayed for God to give the young mother strength to get her through this scary time, and for God to touch her little boy, so he could be made well again.
*to be continued.*