The Swedish parent couple Carolina and Johan went to the emergency room because they were worried about the little son Vilgot’s ugly cough. The doctor, for his part, thought the cough was not a sign of anything dangerous, and sent the family home again.
Asked to take the paracetamol
Vilgot had coughed so much that he had turned red. That is why we went to the hospital, explains dad Johan.
According to the parents, the baby was externally examined by the doctor in the emergency room – who came to the conclusion that he had eaten poorly and probably had a sore throat. The family was sent home with the message to let the boy rest and give him the paracetamol.
Now, just over a year later, Carolina and Johan report the incident to the Swedish Health Inspectorate (IVO). They came forward in April last year and told how they found the son dead in bed.
– The hope is that others will not experience this. That we may be an eye opener for future cases and children with similar symptoms, says Johan.
– Very tough year
The young couple says that 2020 for them is like a black hole, where they have a hard time remembering anything.
– It is difficult to sum up a year of mourning – it has only been about surviving and dealing – partly with his big brother, with his grief and horrors, partly with the whole pandemic. It has been a very tough year with many tears and difficult to endure anything, says Carolina.
– It is a fog, and I try to put the pieces together, but it is asked if it will ever work, says Johan.
The autopsy showed that Vilgot was infected with the parainfluenza virus, a virus other than the one that causes the common flu, but which gives similar symptoms, such as fever, cold symptoms and reduced general condition. It can also cause heavy breathing and pneumonia symptoms.
According to National Institute of Public Health (FH) such viruses are very common in animals and humans, and a common cause of respiratory infections in children under five years of age – including false croup, which can be treated with nebulizer. Vaccine does not exist.
Deaths due to human parainfluenza virus are very rare. But in Vilgot’s case, the infection led to pneumonia which spread to the heart and eventually caused cardiac arrest.
Carolina and Johan now choose to report the case to IVO after talking to Linnea Uusitalo, who herself lost her daughter Vera (6 months) for three days after being sent home from the hospital with notice to give the daughter paracetamol.
– Until recently, I have shielded myself by thinking that we could not do anything about it. But now I think no, that can not be true. It must be possible to do more, says Carolina.
She has now read up and talked to other pediatricians who explain that children often do not show symptoms when they are at Vilgot’s age. Therefore, she is critical of the fact that the doctor in the emergency room, according to her, only did an external examination, as is done with older children.
– I have very doubts about that as a parent, says Carolina.
Vilgot was the only child in Sweden who died of parainfluenza virus in 2019.
In Norway, it is expected that an average of approx. 100,000 people a year go to the doctor due to flu-like symptoms, only during the winter months. Around 5,000 are hospitalized with the flu, and an estimated 900 die as a result of the flu. About. 1.6 million people are considered in the risk group, according to FHI.