Here’s the story behind our baby’s seizures and the medical advice that almost killed him. Early Halloween morning, baby threw up and had a fever. When my wife told me, I wasn’t alarmed. As a dad of four kids, I’ve had more than my share of kids with fever. Plus I had the baby all to myself from 10 pm to 1 am the previous night. He slept in my arms for a couple hours and played for the other hour. When I handed baby off to my wife for his feeding, he was fine and happy. He didn’t appear to be the least bit sick.
That morning, my wife called the HMO and told the advice nurse about baby’s fever and vomiting. The nurse told my wife not to bring baby in unless he has bluish discolorations. The nurse also told my wife to take off baby’s clothes to cool him down, but do not give him any Tylenol because the acetaminophen might make him throw up again.
So while I was out and about with the other three kids (Chinese school and Target), my wife stayed home with baby. When I got back, baby was lying on the carpet twitching while my wife was on the phone with the 911 operator. At first I thought baby had hiccups. His seizures were not the violent shaking kind you see on TV. Then I noticed his eyes were rolled back. At that point, I felt someone ripping my heart out of my chest and I thought, “oh no, our baby is dying!”
After what seemed like an eternity, the paramedics finally arrived. They injected baby with anti-seizure medication. When his seizure didn’t stop, they took him to the ER. At the hospital, the doctors there couldn’t get his seizures to stop either. So they transferred our baby to the ICU of a hospital that specializes in children. After several hours, baby’s seizures finally stopped at the children’s hospital.
While our baby was still in the hospital last Monday, we found out he tested positive for H1N1. The virus caused baby’s fever, which in turn caused his seizures. The doctors at both hospitals were surprised the advice nurse told my wife not to give our baby any Tylenol. They didn’t say it out loud, but I could tell by the way they were eyeing each other they thought we were given bad advice. Plus they kept asking us the same question about the Tylenol to make sure it wasn’t written down incorrectly on the charts. And in a visit to baby’s doctor a couple days ago, the doctor told my wife he can understand why the advice nurse told her not to administer any Tylenol. But if it was him, he would have gone with the Tylenol to lower baby’s temperature.
Right now, my wife is mad at herself for not giving baby any Tylenol. But it’s not her fault. Without the benefit of hindsight, I would have followed the advice nurse’s instructions too. After all, the advice nurse is a medical professional and I’m not. But after our near-death experience, I strongly recommend to dads and moms to think twice before withholding Tylenol from kids when they have a high fever. In my non-medical opinion, seizures are much, much worst than vomiting.
The good news is baby seems to be doing well. Because he had seizures on and off for six hours, baby has appointments later this month for a MRI, EEG, and neurology. Hopefully the doctors won’t find anything wrong. He already has enough health problems to deal with. He doesn’t need anymore.