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Whooping Cough Was Only the Beginning of their Journey
Submitted by Angella Maines, mother of patient Austin
Bryant, AR

Austin was born April 21, 1997. He contracted whooping cough at the hospital where he was born. When he was a week old, I thought he had a cold so I took him to the GPC to be checked out. Dr Heidi Waldron examined him, and said that it was a cold and to just let it run its course. So I took him home and about a week later, he had developed a severe cough and was getting worse. So I took him back to the GPC. Dr Waldron examined him again and told me that she wanted to test him for pertussis - also known as whooping cough - although she said that it most likely wasn't what this was. She told me to take him home and she would call me with the results of the test.

About an hour after I got home to Jacksonville, Dr. Waldron called and said to pack a bag that she was admitting Austin to the hospital to be treated for whooping cough. I was terrified. We only spent four days there, but it was the beginning of the longest year of my life. In the months to follow, he was admitted, diagnosed and treated for the following: failure to thrive, GI reflux, asthma was caused by the whooping cough, and a double ear infection (that caused his GI reflux to worsen due to the fever the infection caused).

Then when he was 11, Austin was diagnosed with MHE (multiple hereditary exostoses). MHE is a bone disorder that is fairly rare and neither Austin's pediatrician nor I had ever heard of it. The doctors at ACH gave me information about it and gave me several websites that I could go to and educate myself more on it, so that I could explain it better to Austin.

I have to say that the staff at ACH, from the security officers to the doctors, are the best there are on Earth. Each and every one at that hospital is a guardian angel. And we are blessed to have such a wonderful team here in Arkansas caring for our children. I truly believe that if it wasn't for ACH, that I wouldn't have my son here with me today. And for that I am eternally grateful to each and every one of you. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!