That gut instinct about a child’s health and well being — it’s something good parents have in spades and it can mean the difference between life and death.
Expectant parents Niesha and Andrew Young from Spring, Texas, acted on those critical instincts when Niesha, seven months along in the pregnancy, felt that something was just not right. It was after hours when she felt troubling symptoms, including pain — so the couple phoned their clinic’s on-call doctor for advice.
“Advocating for a child takes even more advanced planning than advocating for yourself,” said one mom.
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“I told her [the doctor] everything that was going on. That I hadn’t felt my baby move in a couple of hours. That I was cramping and that I had pain in my legs,” Niesha Young recounted, according to CW39, the Houston news station.
The doctor barely seemed to react, the couple said.
“‘Just take a Tylenol, take a hot shower and lie down,'” Niesha Young said the doctor replied.
Shocking — and upsetting.
The on-call doctor added that if Young’s symptoms didn’t clear up after a few hours, the couple should go to the hospital. But fortunately, the couple didn’t listen to any of this. They went straight to Plan B — the ER.
“Once we got to the labor and delivery room, the nurse checked me and I was already dilated three centimeters. The ride was maybe 12 minutes from my house. So had I listened to that doctor — my baby wouldn’t be here,” Niesha Young told CW39.
The diagnosis was grim.
“Partial placenta abruption. My placenta had detached from the uterus. My baby wasn’t getting the nutrients and vitamins that she needed. She could have died,” said the mother.
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The doctor who delivered the new baby, Tori Ann Young, saved a human life, the couple fervently believes. The Youngs now want to pay it forward and tell other parents to trust their gut instinct. It’s a parent’s alarm bell.
“It’s important to figure out what your resources are before you need them.”
“You can’t always follow [the] doctor’s advice,” Andrew Young said. “If you know something is wrong, get another opinion right away. Don’t wait ’til later, until it’s too late — because that can very well cost you something very precious.”
One Maryland mom agreed this is wise and true.
“Sometimes it depends on the temperament of the parent, I think, in how they are treated by a doctor. Some [parents] will freak out over everything, and a doctor might say, ’Oh, it’s them again, worried about nothing.’ But who are they to make that pronouncement without having eyes on the patient? My two-year-old was in the care of my daycare provider after a hospital stay for a virus, and my provider called and said my daughter was ‘shaking.’”
Immediately this Maryland mom called the doctor, she said — who told her nonchalantly, “She’s probably dehydrated.”
“The doctor was out at a conference at the time,” said the mom, “and he said to take her right to the hospital. [But] he had never told me to watch for this [earlier] and push more fluids than usual, and that upset me,” she continued. “I never would have put her back in daycare had I known she was vulnerable still — but she was my first, and I assumed she was OK. My lack of trust in him caused me to switch pediatricians.”
In an emergency, it is helpful to have resources lined up and waiting. A number for poison control, your doctor’s emergency number, and an understanding of how your pediatrician’s office operates on weekends and evenings are all must-have information for parents.
“In my experience, advocating for a child takes even more advanced planning than advocating for yourself,” Micelle King Robson, founder of EmpowHer, a women’s health and wellness company, told Fox News. “You need access to accurate information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s important to figure out what your resources are before you need them.”
A Massachusetts mom shared a frightening tale of being dismissed not by one doctor, but by two.
“I had a doctor tell me to ignore my two-year-old’s crying and discomfort — incredibly, she told me he was ‘manipulating me’ to get out of bedtime,” recalled one Boston mom. “I was in a restrictive HMO at the time, and there was only one other doctor who we had ever seen. I went to a walk-in clinic, and they diagnosed my son with a stomach virus after just a cursory exam. I knew in my heart and in my gut that the clinic and the pediatrician were both wrong, and I demanded to see the only other doctor at our HMO.”
“He was quite quickly extremely concerned,” she continued, “and sent us to Children’s Hospital, where my son was treated for a potentially fatal case of intussusception [a medical condition in which a part of the intestine folds into another section of intestine, creating a blockage]. If I hadn’t pushed, I would have lost my son.”
The Maryland mom offered concrete advice for what to do if parents feel they are not being treated seriously.
“I would push it, and if the doctor or practice didn’t see me, I would switch as soon as possible after the crisis was resolved. During the emergency, say forcefully to the doctor, ‘I want you to see me,’ or ‘I want to go to the hospital.’ Women need to listen to their bodies, and don’t be afraid to leave a practice if they aren’t listening.”
She added, “Ask other moms you trust for their opinion of your child’s symptoms if you are a first-time mom — don’t isolate yourself in the emergency. They can also provide a referral to a better doctor.”