A six-year-old boy in Texas nearly died of a strep infection after his pediatrician dismissed his condition as a virus.
Hunter Barker, from Arlington, woke up one Monday morning in April with a headache and a low-grade fever of 99.1f. Within 24 hours, his fever shot up to 104f.
His mother, Rachel Barker, called his doctor, who told her it was likely a virus that would pass soon, reported NBC 5.
But when Hunter started vomiting and developed a rash just a few days later, she rushed him to the hospital.
It was there that doctors discovered he had an untreated strep infection that had turned into sepsis, a life-threatening infection that occurs when the body attacks its own organs and tissue.
His parents were told that if they had waited even a day longer to seek medical attention, Hunter could have died.
Hunter Barker, six, from Arlington, Texas, began complaining of a headache and a fever in April. Pictured: Hunter in the hospital with his mother
His pediatrician told his mother that he had likely contracted a virus that would disappear. After Hunter (left and right) developed a rash and began vomiting a few days later, his mom took him to the hospital, where he was rushed into the intensive care unit
Barker told NBC 5 that when Hunter first started complaining of a headache and fever, she didn’t think it was anything serious.
‘He woke up Monday and was like: “I have a headache,” and I was like: “It’s Monday. We all have headaches. No one wants to go to school”,’ she said.
However, when he developed a rash and started vomiting, she turned to Dr Google.
‘I remember thinking: “What is that?”‘ Barker said of his rash.
‘Google, your best and worst friend, made me think it was broken [blood vessels] from vomiting. I thought: “Well, that made sense”.’
She decided to take Hunter to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth to get checked out, when his condition suddenly took a turn for the worse.
‘When we got in there, a paramedic asked: “When did his lips turn purple?”‘ Barker told NBC 5.
‘And that’s when I just froze. I thought: “It wasn’t like that a minute ago and we were just getting out of the car”.’
He was rushed to the ICU, where doctors diagnosed him with a Group A Streptococcus infection.
They told Barker that, because Hunter hadn’t been treated for the infection, he had developed sepsis.
Doctors diagnosed Hunter with a Group A infection, which had turned into sepsis because it hadn’t been treated. Sepsis is a life-threatening infection that occurs when the body attacks its own organs and tissues. Pictured, left and right: Hunter in the hospital
Hunter was discharged after two-and-a-half weeks and even got a ride home from the Arlington Fire Department (pictured)
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition in which chemicals that the immune system releases into the bloodstream to fight an infection cause inflammation throughout the entire body instead.
Many doctors view sepsis in three stages progressing from sepsis to severe sepsis and finally septic shock, a dramatic drop in blood pressure that stops blood flow to the organs and can result in death.
Symptoms, which can take several days to appear, include fever, lower abdominal pain, chills, pale skin, headache and increased heart rate.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, around 1.7 million Americans develop sepsis every year, killing at least 270,000.
To treat sepsis, patients receive doses of IV fluids and vasopressors, drugs that constrict blood vessels and raise blood pressure.
According to NBC 5, Hunter responded well to treatment and went home after spending two-and-a-half weeks in the hospital.
Barker says that she wants to assure other parents to never be afraid to bombard their children’s doctors with questions.
‘Ask questions! Ask the questions I didn’t ask. What if I had asked for a chest X-ray? We would have known sooner,’ she told NBC 5.