“He has a bit of a cough,” the daycare workers said to Melissa Bagnall when she picked up her 18 month old son, Adrien. After a restless night, the cough appeared worse and Adrien did not seem like himself. Melissa called the office of her family physician, Dr. Sharpe, for an appointment; they fit them in that afternoon. After seeing how hard Adrien was working to breathe, they were sent to the Maternal Child Care Unit (MCCU) at Prince County Hospital for a consult with Dr. David Wong. When they arrived at the hospital, they were met by Adrien’s father, Glenn. When patients arrive at the hospital unit to see the doctor, pediatric nurses must demonstrate a calm skill-set as they assess, prioritize and manage patients until a doctor arrives. Jaime Richard and Erica Waite were the RNs on duty in MCCU that day. They quickly realized how sick Adrien was and contacted Dr. Wong. A portable chest x-ray revealed that his upper airways were very swollen and becoming so tight that he was using all of the muscles in his chest and belly to suck in each breath. Bloodwork showed that his little lungs were beginning to shut down because he was not able to breathe effectively. The usual mask treatments of ventolin and pulmicort seemed to do nothing to open his airways and his condition was worsening.
Nothing seemed to help until Dr. Wong, along with respiratory therapists Abdul Rahman and Kendra Harper, thought of giving him epinephrine masks. Adrien was connected to a monitor to keep track of his oxygen levels and heart rate, an IV pump to deliver steroids in to the bloodstream for the inflammation and a positive pressure oxygen device called an “Optiflow” to help him to breathe. For the first two days he had a dedicated nurse around the clock. They tested for RSV and other viruses but none came back positive. Dr. Wong determined that it was croup and asthma. Altogether, Adrien was in hospital for five days, receiving further mask treatments every hour first with epinephrine and then later with ventolin and pulmicort. The story ended happily, as Adrien was discharged with continued mask treatments as well as oral steroids. While he experienced bouts of croup periodically for several years after, none were as severe as that first episode. Today, he is an active seven-year-old who loves to play hockey. Melissa and Glenn still get emotional thinking about how quickly he got sick and what might have happened if everyone at the hospital hadn’t acted so swiftly to treat him. “We are so blessed to have the dedicated staff and facilities that we have in Summerside. They saved our son’s life and we are so grateful.”
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