'I'm so relieved I trusted my gut instinct': Doctors dismiss 7-month-old's meningitis as 'runny nose'

The Ryan Family. Image via EverydayHero.

A seven-month-old boy was put on life support after doctors initially dismissed his symptoms as nothing more than a “runny nose.” Julie Ryan’s gut feeling that something wasn’t right may have saved her son Jayden’s life.

The Queensland, Australia mom was told by her family doctor that her son’s symptoms were nothing more than a virus, but in a matter of days his health deteriorated to what she described as a “chest rattling.”

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Ryan called 13SICK, an Australian service where doctors can make after-hours or home visits. Again, doctors assured her that it was bronchiolitis, a common respiratory infection for children. She was told to monitor his breathing and watch for specific symptoms that could be potentially fatal.

If he hadn’t educated me, I don’t know if my son would still be alive,” Ryan toldThe Queensland Times

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The Ryans called an ambulance later that night, but were still not taken to hospital. The next day, the worried parents took Jayden to a private care hospital where the family says doctors once again missed how sick their son was.

After a chest X-ray revealed Jayden’s lung was “a bit clogged” he was transferred to Queensland Children’s Hospital where he was immediately intubated and put on life support.

Doctors told Ryan that her son had developed not only pneumonia and influenza, but meningitis that was causing his brain to swell.

Jayden Ryan. Image via EverydayHero.

“I still get chills thinking about how they said ‘you have a very sick baby’. When I heard that I thought he would be gone,” Ryan recalled. 

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Jayden’s right lung had become so infected that doctors drained 200 mg of pus. After several days in intensive care, he was finally transferred to another ward for the remainder of his recovery.

Ryan said she struggles to imagine what would have happened had she not insisted something was wrong with her son.

“I’m so relieved I trusted my gut instinct and saw another doctor after I felt he got worse,” she said. “I’m very lucky I acted when I did.”

Now, the family is determined to warn other parents to follow their intuition and seek alternative medical attention if they feel as though something isn’t right with their child.

He’s such a smiley happy baby they thought he wasn’t sick,” she explained. 

The family are helping to raise money for the Ronald McDonald house, which they stayed while Jayden was in hospital. Click here to donate.

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