Matthew King

My name is Patti King and I wanted to share a story of my 17 month old son's surviving this horrible infection! Back in April of 2003, my then 17 month old son, Matthew, had been running a low grade fever for several days. I did not think any thing of it because we all know that toddler's usually run a low grade fever while teething. These were the only symptoms that he was showing. On Monday, April 7, 2003, I was changing my son's diapers and getting him ready for bed. I noticed a very small (smaller than the size of a pencil eraser) red spot on his abdomen. He was not complaining of any pain and seemed happy to be getting ready to go to bed. The next morning at around 6:00 his screams brought me running into his room. He was crying uncontrollably and was burning with fever (103.8). I undressed him and this small red spot was now about the size of a quarter and was a dark red and mean looking. When I touched it, he screamed. I immediately had my 13 year old son call my husband at his work and told him to come home immediately as something was wrong with Matthew. MatthewHe arrived in 15 minutes (from 23 miles away) and we rushed him to our local Emergency Room. The doctor there looked at Matthew and said "In my 15 years of practice I have never seen anything like this". He had us go about a block over to a local dermatologist. She told us she did not know what was wrong, but that we needed to get him to a well known dermatologist in Indianapolis ASAP! She said "do not delay in getting him over there". She made the phone call for us and off we went for the 30 minute drive to Indianapolis. He saw three dermatologists at this clinic. They measured the spot (which was still growing) and took pictures. We spent over two hours in their office. They did not know what it was and prescribed an oral antibiotic and scheduled us to come back the next morning to check him. However, they did give us a pager number and said that if we saw any notable difference in his condition to call them. We brought him home and put him down for a nap. Around 5:30 or 6:00 he awoke from his nap and was very lethargic. He only wanted to lie on my husband's shoulder. I noticed that he was drooling (another sign I thought that he was teething) and took a Kleenex to wipe his mouth. There was BLOOD in his saliva. I ran to the phone and called the pager number they had given me. The dermatologist told me that we need to get him to Riley Hospital for Children NOW and that she would meet us in the ER. In the ER the dermatologist did a small skin biopsy to try to determine what the infection was. She told us it would take 24 hours for the results. They admitted him (thank GOD) and all night long doctors were in and out of his room. The spot had tripled in size. The next morning we were told that they were going to take him to surgery for a deep tissue biopsy. They thought at this time that it was one of two things---strep or staph infection. I asked the doctor which one we were hoping for IF it had to be one or the other. He told me that Staph infections are more easily treated. They did take him down for a CAT scan of his abdomen before doing the surgery. In surgery, they removed an inch square and inch deep part of his abdomen and then a smaller section around to his side. They also told us that it was possible that he might have to undergo more surgery if the infection continued to spread. It that happened, they would have to remove some or all of his abdominal muscles. They decided they would put him into Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for the night, just to keep an eye on him. The next day the results came back and it was Group A Beta Strep. Matthew was, at this time, starting to fail. His breathing was very labored. They monitored him and that evening decided they would have to place him on the ventilator, or he would not make it. They took chest x-rays three times a day and we kept getting bad news and then good news. They first thought his lungs were either filling with fluid or he might have developed pneumonia. Then the next day they would tell us that he was getting better. Yet the next day, he was making a turn for the worse. They were concerned that this infection had invaded his organs, so they ordered an echocardiogram. It turned out normal. After five days on the ventilator they decided they needed to get him off the machine. They removed it and said that the rest of the day would be very difficult. He again started having problems and his blood pressure was sky rocketing. It was determined at that time that they did NOT want to re-intubate him (as it is very difficult to get them off once you put them back on). They decided to try putting him on a Bi-Pap machine. This SAVED his life!!!! He was moved to a regular room and spent seven more days in Riley Hospital. He was released on Easter Sunday. The doctor told us, upon his release, that had we waited TWO MORE HOURS before seeking help that the outcome would not have "been the same". We thank God every day that we have such a wonderful hospital in Indiana that treats critically ill children~!!! We firmly believe that had our local hospital admitted him (rather than send us somewhere else) that he would not have survived. In October of 2004 he will be 3 years old and is a pretty normal, energetic toddler! He did suffer some developmental delays and is undergoing occupational and speech therapy for these.