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RSV complicated by Bacterial Pneumonia

I have a medical question for you.

My husband and I lost our 4 1/2 month old daughter to RSV complicated by Bacterial Pneumonia. She was born healthy with no problems or complications. She had a cough since the first of October 2002. We took her to the doctor 3 times, Oct. 7th, Oct. 28 and & Dec. 26th. The doctor didn't treat her at all for any of the problems that we had advised him that she had been having. Her last visit was Dec . 26th. She had fever Christmas night and we took her the very next day. He took very little time with her and gave a diagnosis of a right ear infection and a cough. She died exactly a week later. She still had the cough the day she died and she was also due for a well baby checkup the day she died. The autopsy did state she died of RSV complicated by Bacterial Pneumonia.

My question is how fast can all this develop and then a baby die? A week, months or how long? Could it have developed and worsened over the 3 months that she had a cough? Please help me out with these questions or any information that you can give. I appreciate all your help.
7 Responses
251132 tn?1198078822
I am sure this is a very difficult time for your family.  Let me begin by saying, I am sorry for your loss.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is similar to the influenza virus that causes the flu.  In infants and young children it can cause lung infections such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia.  RSV infections happen over a period of time.  They usually start with what appears as a cold and goes into a cough.  Children respond in differing ways and differing levels of severity to this infection.  There are many children who have a cough and wheeze with little breathing difficulty and others who require hospitalization.  During the course of this viral infection, a child can develop a secondary bacterial infection.  The symptoms of this infection can be more severe in nature than the RSV and lead to higher temperature and greater difficulty.  This can happen quite quickly.  The source of this infection could be from the ears or sinuses or directly into the lungs.

I hope this helps answer some of your questions.
Avatar universal
So, NJC-R.N.-DC, the RSV or Pneumonia could have been diagnosised at some point within the 3 doctor visits? All 3 visits we reported coughing, nasal conjestion and even the last visit on Dec 26th we report that plus green stuff when she would sneeze sometimes. Shouldn't an X-Ray or something been done? Are most doctors treating RSV cases like a common cold and not checking for anything else but a cold? There was an article written in my home town about our daughter dying of RSV and right now we have save 7 small children/babies at this point. There are so many parents out there that don't know what RSV is today. I guess they think it is just a cold like our daughter, Brooklynn's, doctor. What do you think about diagnosing this?
Avatar universal
I am so sorry to read of your loss.  I am a nurse, and even though I do not specialize in infants/children, I do have some comments.  
A persistent fever, cough, and production of green mucus in an infant of 4 months old SHOULD be evaluated in more than the cursory method you described by her physician.  
I can understand on the first visit perhaps not putting her thru a detailed investigation.  But definately on the subsequent visits furthur investigations should have been done.

Anecdotally, when my son was a child, he had a persistent fever and cough/cold symptoms (this was many years ago, before RSV was a popular diagnosis).  Nothing was ever done regarding his symptoms, for almost a month of frequent visits.  Finally, just to shut me up his doc ordered an xray, all the while making snide comments about mothers who "want" something serious to be wrong.  
My son had pneumonia, and was hospitalized for 2 weeks.  

Doctors don't know everything.  Get your daughters records and review them with another doctor, preferably one who practices in an advanced university setting.  And then get a lawyer.

I am so sorry about what has happened to your child.
Avatar universal
I'm afraid that I don't have anything to add about RSV.  I just read your post and wanted to say that I'm so sorry for your loss.  Your pain must be overwhelming.  Please accept my condolences.

Avatar universal
I wrote earlier concerning our daughter passing away will RSV complicated by Bacterial Pneumonia. We finally got a copy of the Autopsy report yesterday. I need somebody explain to mean what the following means:

Thh epicardium has several petechial hemmorhages. The upper airway is unobstructed. the pleural surgaced siplay several petechial hemmorhages, but are otherwise smooth and shiny. The pulmonary arteries contain no thromboemboli. the major bronchi are unremarkable. the right lung contains three distinct lobes and the left lung contains two distinct lobes and the lingula. Sectioning of the lungs reveals vascular congestion and proable inflammatory parenchymal infiltrates,  most predominantly in the lower lobes, left greater than right.

How long would this have to go on for a baby(4 Months) to die???? That is the only thing that was wrong with Brooklynn. She was a very healthy baby and then got a cold that wouldn't go away. The doctor didn't do an X-Ray or anything to find out if it could've been more than just a cold. We went to the doctor 3 times for the same thing. Brooklynn was due for a well-baby checkup the day she died.

Please somebody help us understand how a baby so strong and healthy can die so fast. Please help!!!!
Avatar universal
i just want you to know that as painfull as this may be for you, i think that your daughter's death was one hundred percent unneccesary.  my five month old son had a cold last month that quickly moved to his chest.  after about five days, i noticed that he was breathing quickly and not nursing well.  but he was pink and still smiling.  i took him to emergency (i live in canada)and they took his case very seriously due to his age (and your daughter was younger!).  the first thing they did was check his oxygen level (it was at 85%; very low; hard to believe that he had no blue around his lips), then they put him on oxygen and then they did the nasal test for rsv.  the rsv test came back several hours later; positive.  my son was not overly sick but his cough was horrible and he was not quite himself.  he ended up staying in the hospital for eight days.  if the doctors had not acted as quickly and responsibly as they did with our son, we could have ended up as unfortunate as you.  my heart bleeds for you and i hope that some justice is done so that you can mourn your loss.
Avatar universal
A related discussion, rsv was started.
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