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Nash Epperson

Survivor

On the morning of April 28, 2018, Nash was a normal, healthy 6-year-old playing in an early morning soccer game. That same evening, we almost lost our sweet boy to sepsis.

That Saturday was full of soccer games and celebration – April is a month full of birthdays for our family, including Nash. On that April afternoon we had gone to a family member’s home to celebrate a birthday. While there, Nash began to complain of belly pain and had developed a fever. We took him home and he laid down to rest. As the day progressed his pain increased and his fever continued to climb. We took him to a local ER around 7:00 that evening. After a chest x-ray, a urinalysis and a round of blood work, we were ultimately told Nash simply had a nasty virus that just needed to run its course. We were discharged at approximately 10:15 that evening. We came to find later that Nash’s labs, which CLEARLY revealed he was in distress, were not read until 10:23 p.m., AFTER his discharge. We were never contacted by the hospital.

After arriving back at home, Nash’s abdominal pain continued to increase, as did his fever. We knew something wasn’t right. Thankfully, we live only an hour north of one of the top ten Children’s Hospitals in the nation and decided to take him there. He was quickly admitted and many tests were administered. While waiting for the results of a second chest x-ray and an ultrasound, Nash stopped breathing. We were rushed to trauma where attempts to stabilize him were proving unsuccessful. Our little boy was in septic shock. Running out of options, Nash was intubated and transferred to the PICU.

Within 36 hours we learned the cause of the septic shock – a strep infection in his blood stream, which until the day he became so ill, he had been asymptomatic of any kind of infection. (Sepsis and Group A Streptococcus, Sepsis and Group B Streptococcus) He spent 7 long days on life support and an additional 6 on the infectious disease floor. He suffered an intussusception (a rare twisting of the small intestine, usually due to trauma). He was given 3 different types of sedation medication and as a result, experienced a very hard few days of withdrawal, as 2 of the 3 medications were narcotics.

In those first days and hours in the PICU, with Nash on life support, we were given little hope. The many interventions necessary for Nash’s survival were hard on his little body. As so many reading this know, the list of interventions necessary to save Nash’s life is much longer and more complex than those mentioned above. Frankly, it is a miracle that Nash survived – he surprised even the doctors on his trauma team. While post-sepsis syndrome also became a part of our vocabulary as a result of his battle, Nash is a healthy, happy, thriving (almost) 9-year-old boy today. He was so brave. He was such a fighter. Our family is passionate about advocating for patients and families who have been affected by missed diagnosis and mis-diagnosis as a result of Nash’s journey. We are proud to be part of a community full of strong, beautiful survivors. And we are SO proud of our boy.

Source: Josh and Koti Epperson

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