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Toddler battles mysterious ailment



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New Year’s Day started out like any other day in the Thomas household.

The kids were running around and playing while mom and dad tried to keep up with them.

In the evening, mom, Scotland Thomas, said that her twoyear-old son Nash refused to take a bath, so she gave her seven-year-old daughter River one first.

“Then, I sat on the couch, and he came over and sat on my lap and said that he couldn’t see the television,” said Thomas.

“He kept squinting his eyes and rubbing them and repeating that he could not see. He put my arms around me and said, ‘mommy hold me,’ and then he started having little seizures.”

Thomas quickly called an ambulance, and by the time they arrived at the Thomas residence, the seizures had stopped. Out of precaution, the paramedics decided to take the little boy to the hospital.

“When we were on route to Anna Laberge Hospital, he had a grand mal seizure. He was knocked out, and his eyes went to the back of his head,” said Thomas.

Thomas and her husband Cody were living every parent’s worst nightmare.

When little Nash got to the hospital, doctors quickly tried to stabilize him. He had a high-grade fever, and his body temperature was 41 degrees Celsius.

Thomas and her husband watched as nurses put their baby boy on an IV drip and gave him Tylenol and Advil to get his fever down.

“They sent him to get a CT scan and a chest x-ray. Both came back clear. But when his blood work came back, they said that his liver wasn’t functioning,” she explained.

Doctors told the parents that Nash’s liver was showing signs of inflammation and that his white blood cell count was up.

Doctors at Anna Laberge transferred Nash to Sainte Justine’s Hospital in Montreal, one of the top pediatric hospitals in North America, on Saturday morning (January 2).

Nash’s situation was frightening for his parents and older siblings (he also has a nine-yearold big brother named Ty).

Once at Sainte Justine’s, a team of specialists that included an infectious disease doctor, a neurologist, a gastroenterologist, a pediatrician, and a nuclear medicine doctor, took a blood culture and said that it would take about five days to get the results.

“But he was getting progressively worse. His body was retaining fluids, so he was swollen all over, because the liver was not functioning properly and wasn’t filtering anything out,” said Thomas.

The little boy eventually stopped eating and started turning yellow.

“He was miserable and was super big, weighing more than my seven-year-old daughter. At one point, he couldn’t even sit up because he was in so much discomfort,” she said.

Because they feared that things could worsen even more, doctors put Nash on three different antibiotics while they waited for the result of the blood culture.

Thomas said that every day the doctors would come into the room with a certain look in their eyes and she could tell that they had no idea what was going with her baby. She and her husband Cody felt helpless.

The result finally came back and showed that Nash had an infection in his blood and an abscess on his spleen, which is what caused the liver damage.

Finally, knowing what was wrong with Nash came as a relief for the parents, but he was still very ill, and they were terrified.

“I cried a lot, to be honest. The COVID-19 restrictions made things harder, but luckily Sainte Justine’s allowed both of us to be present in his room,” said Thomas.

Once Nash started improving, the parents took turns at the hospital in order to also take care of the other children back home, who were extremely worried for their baby brother.

“Our close family helped us out a lot. We were very lucky in that sense. They stepped in no question, and anything we needed, they would help out with. The community helped out as well,” she said.

In fact, as it usually does, Kahnawake rallied behind the family and held a fundraiser to help pay for expenses like parking and food at the hospital.

“We did not expect the support we got. We were even able to buy a seizure monitor with some of the money that was donated to us,” explained Thomas.

Nash was finally able to go back home on January 15. He is being treated with a PIC line (peripherally inserted central catheter), and he is on antibiotics until February 3.

He has to go back to the hospital every week, as doctors continue to monitor his condition.

“They said that he had acute hepatitis of the liver and a lesion on the spleen. And they said that they might never find out how this happened or how he went from being okay one minute to not the next,” said Thomas.

He will also be followed by a neurologist, and must continue taking his medication.

“Doctors are hopeful that he will make a full recovery and that they are treating it right,” she said.

Nash’s last follow up was Wednesday, and things continue to look up for the little boy. His mom said he is super happy to be home and is playing with his siblings.

“To other parents, I say embrace the chaos at home because when we were at the hospital, that is all we wanted to return to,” said Thomas.


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