MISSOULA - We have been watching the climbing cases of flu, RSV, and COVID-19 that are sending people — most notably kids — to the hospital.
Imagine that you vaccinate your child against the flu and she still ends up being flown to a pediatric hospital. It’s a dramatic story, but unfortunately, not that unusual as we navigate a tri-demic landscape.
Five-year-old Daphne loves dancing and music, and now, she’s feeling better enough to do those things after a bout with the flu put her in real danger.
It was so bad, she and her mom recently found themselves on a predawn flight from Missoula to Kalispell’s Logan Health because Daphne was in acute respiratory failure.
“It was nerve-racking because it was 3 a.m. It was dark. I know the weather is bad. My daughter isn’t doing super well with her breathing. So I was nervous,” Kassi Magruder recalled.
Daphne had a flu shot but still caught Influenza A. She had been in and out of a doctor’s office and twice to the ER because she just wasn’t getting better. Then she took a turn.
"And on her second night there, her oxygen needs had become really significant. She was just on a regular flow of oxygen for the whole time we were at Saint Pat’s and then at a certain moment, her oxygen levels tanked,” Kassi said.
Kassi told MTN News that her care at Saint Patrick Hospital was wonderful but that her child needed more specialized care. But all the beds in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Community Medical Center were full. It’s a reality being played out across the country.
“I was surprised, I guess. I have been reading the news and I know the triple-demic was bad and it’s bad in New York and bad in Seattle. It's not bad in Missoula,” Kassi said. “But then you realize — yeah, all the pediatric beds are full.”
“In hindsight, I didn’t know at the time how close we were to potentially losing her. At the time, I was just in mamma bear mode. We will make it, implement the plan and [it will] all go ok,” Kassi continued.
The plane landed safely, Daphne got what she needed to beat this virus and is now home waiting for Santa.
Kassi’s advice to other parents with small children is that if they are sick, don’t hesitate to take them to the doctor and try to get them vaccinated.
“It seems like a lot of kids haven’t been exposed to many viruses over the past year because we’ve all been so careful. I wish I would have had her into [the doctor] earlier in the course of her sickness instead of waiting for her to get so bad to go to the doctor. Go to the doctor earlier, don’t wait."