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When Doctors Are Willing to Listen to a Mother's Intuition

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My daughter, Addison, is 14 months old. She is beautiful, smart, kind, loving and very silly! She has never been one to fuss much. She has had a few colds, but she was never bothered by them.

For the last six months, my daughter had been getting fevers of 104. After three days of fevers, I brought her into the children’s hospital where we live. I did this four times in the last six months. I was told she had a viral infection the first three times I brought her in.

Her symptoms weren’t just a fever. She was having a hard time walking straight, cold sweats, diarrhea, not drinking or eating and very irritated. The doctors kept telling me these were all symptoms of a viral infection. I knew better. My intuition told me what was happening to my little baby was not a viral infection.

I told the doctors about my condition, pseudohypoaldosteronism type 2, that I had high levels of potassium — so high that it resulted in severe pain throughout my body and heart palpitations. High potassium can cause cardiac arrest and death.

The condition is not normally symptomatic in young children. It is normally seen in adulthood. Like my case; I was 24 when I started having symptoms.


The doctors did not feel the symptoms Addison was having were related to a high potassium level, so they sent us home. No blood work. No electrocardiogram (ECG). Nothing.

After our vacation this past July, Addison was not well. Again, she had a fever, diarrhea, uninterested in eating or drinking and anything she did eat passed right through her. I told myself the doctors would say this was viral and send us home, again. I looked at her dad and said, “This is not right. There is something wrong with our baby. I’m taking her to a different hospital, maybe they will take us seriously.” My husband agreed and we went to a different hospital in our area.

We arrived at the hospital. I had brought six of her dirty diapers from the last three hours — I felt I needed to prove to them she was ill. After being turned away the last three times, I felt I had no choice. They got her into a room right away and the doctor came in within 20 minutes. The doctor took one look at her, listened to her heart and said we need to do blood work and get her hooked up to an IV.

So the process began. It took a few tries, but once they got the IV in, they drew blood from her and started her on fluids. Addison was dehydrated, and I think she had been on and off for a few months prior. The blood work came back and Addison’s potassium level was at a seven. The doctor ordered and ECG. The ECG was all out of whack. The doctor said he couldn’t read it perfectly because he was not a pediatrician, but what he saw was not good.

The doctor called the children’s hospital (the hospital that turned her away three times previous) and spoke to the doctor there. They wanted Addison transferred by ambulance right away. It felt like my heart had stopped. I wanted to cry, but I knew it wouldn’t be good for her. I did not want to worry her.

I felt like screaming. I had known for so long that my little girl was not OK; that she was suffering. Finally, I found a doctor who listened to me and believed me. He did not push me out the door, looking at me like I was a paranoid mother. I am so thankful for this doctor, he saved my Addison’s life. I can never repay him.

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Originally published: October 1, 2017
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