SALEM, Ore. (AP) – An Oregon mother who saw her 7-week-old baby die from meningitis requests changes to a hospital from which the child was originally discharged.
Ginger McCall said her daughter had been released from the hospital's Salem emergency department. The staff said it was a routine infection, the Salem Statesman Journal reported. Hours later, the girl's vital functions crashed. She died two days later.
"I hope that will turn out to be good," McCall said. "What I want most is to raise awareness so it does not happen to anyone else."
Salem Hospital officials cited privacy concerns as they refused to die. "This is a heartbreaking loss, and Salem Health expresses its deepest condolences," the officials said.
McCall is a lawyer and civil servant and works as a public records lawyer for Oregon.
Her daughter Evianna Rose Quintero-McCall got a fever on March 15, McCall said. She cried a faint moaning cry that McCall later learned was a sign of a group of B-strep meningitis.
McCall and her mother-in-law took the baby to Salem Hospital. She got Tylenol and was sent home.
McCall wishes she knew she was on a meningitis test, she said, or that she had gone to the OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, where the infection might have been detected.
"There's a stereotype of a hysterical, panicky mother who's in a panic for the first time and who probably influenced the situation," McCall said.
She told the staff that she tested positive for Strep B during pregnancy. Expectant mothers are typically tested for Group B Strep infection and treated with antibiotics. However, the bacterial infection can be transmitted to babies.
A few hours after leaving the emergency room, McCall brought her baby to her pediatrician. After the baby vomited, the doctor told her to rush to the emergency room and called the hospital staff. There followed a flood of activities and the baby was taken by ambulance to the Doernbecher OHSU Children's Hospital. She died on March 17.
"They did their best, but when they got there, it was just too late," McCall said.
According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 4,100 cases of bacterial meningitis and 500 deaths are reported each year.
Babies can develop meningitis at birth, coughing and sneezing, or eating contaminated food.
McCall wants parents to know the warning signs.
"I hope you will work hard for yourself and your children," she said. "I hope they will appreciate every moment they have with their children."
She hopes that hospital staff will be better informed about meningitis symptoms and that hospitals will change their protocol.
"I would wish for them to be trained to spot the signs because it is so catastrophic and happening so fast," she said. "Every minute is important."
Information from: Statesman Journal