Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Danielle has a constant fear for her son Logan, 4, who lives with a congenital gastrointestinal condition known as Hirschsprung disease. Hirschsprung disease affects the large intestine, preventing bowel movements to pass through due to missing nerve cells in the lower part of the colon.
When he was just six weeks old, Logan went to surgery to remove the section of his colon without the nerves and reattach the remaining portion of the colon to the rectum. Surgery has been a very effective treatment for Logan, and you would never know he lives with Hirschsprung disease… until he gets sick.
Children with Hirschsprung disease continue to be at risk of developing a bowel infection, also known as enterocolitis, after surgery. Enterocolitis can be life threatening for children with Hirschsprung disease. Logan had enterocolitis a few times in the past four years, and each time he has been admitted into the hospital for monitoring, rectal irrigations and IV fluids. Each time Logan was diagnosed with enterocolitis, he was also diagnosed with a respiratory illness like RSV or adenovirus.
On a Sunday morning in September, when hospitals were busting at the seams with patients, the one thing Danielle feared most during the pandemic happened, Logan got sick. It started with an upset tummy and quickly turned into frequent and consistent vomiting. If history repeated itself, Danielle knew they could possibly end up at the emergency department and get admitted into the hospital. Throughout the day she kept an eye on his hydration and kept encouraging him to take little sips of water or electrolyte drinks. His condition wasn’t yet emergent, and Danielle didn’t want to risk exposing Logan to other illnesses by taking him to the emergency room. So instead, she began making a list in her head of the other care options available.
“We are so lucky to have access to so many different options when it comes to the health of our children. When it comes to Logan and his history, I try to make the most logical decision when seeking care. If it’s a general illness not affecting his gut, hands down I choose our pediatrician. If they don’t have appointments available or I need the convenience of a video visit, my next step is to turn to Kids Express” said Danielle. “This circumstance was different, and I knew those options would eventually lead me back to the hospital. So, on Monday morning, I reached out to Sean Bingham, DO, Logan’s gastroenterologist at Dayton Children’s through MyKidsChart.”
Danielle’s decision paid off and they were able to avoid the emergency department and a hospital admission. Within an hour, Danielle was contacted by Dr. Bingham’s nurse, Shannon. Shannon ensured Danielle that she would do everything possible to keep Logan out of the hospital. After a brief chat about Logan’s symptoms, Shannon took the information back to Dr. Bingham to work through the next steps. Shannon remained in contact with Danielle throughout the day and after a trip to the Dayton Children’s Kettering Outpatient Care Center for labs and imaging, a plan of action for Logan’s care was developed.
“Often times as parents it’s hard to see past the initial shock of your child’s illness or injury,” said Danielle. “And while I truly believe in following your instincts and seeking the care you believe your child needs, sometimes a quick phone call with their pediatrician or specialist can lead you in the right direction, and sometimes it can help you avoid that crowded emergency department.”
As parents continue to navigate through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic it’s important to remember to seek medical care for your child when they need it. Logan may not always be able to avoid the emergency department, but it’s reassuring to Danielle that there are other ways to get him the care he needs based on his condition.
Dayton Children’s provides a variety of locations and services to deliver the right care, at the right place for your child! For a list of care options and to view wait times, visit childrensdayton.org/wait-times.