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Quick diagnosis, treatment saves child

2.2 from 5 votes
Friday, July 23, 2010

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Olivia Hunter, soon to be in the second grade, has plans of swimming and Happy Meals this summer, nearly two years since a high fever sent her parents scrambling for help and answers.

Olivia was five when she suddenly became ill. Vicky Hunter, and her husband, Jeff, of Palm Desert, took Olivia to her local doctor who determined the girl had Kawasaki's disease. This rare autoimmune disorder creates an inflammation of blood vessels and can lead to permanent heart damage if not treated.

“We were lucky to have her diagnosed quickly because this disease is often confused with other diseases such as scarlet fever,” Vicky Hunter said. “Then we had to find her the best treatment.”

It turned out that the best treatment was more than two hours away at Children's Hospital of Orange County.

The Hunters called in family to help.

“My sister-in-law, Meg Delgadillo, was a lifesaver,” Vicky Hunter said. The Hunters' two other children, Zack and Jake, had five minutes to throw some clothes in a bag and head to Aunt Meg's house.

“It was really scary,” said Zack, now 16. “We didn't know what was happening or how sick Olivia was.”

Olivia was very sick.

“We had no money to pay for a hotel room, didn't know where to go, we just went where they told us and didn't stop to think,” said Jeff Hunter, a yard supervisor at Carter Elementary School.

Luckily, Delgadillo came through again. She contacted the Orange County Ronald McDonald House and learned that there was one room available. This would become home and sanctuary while Olivia was in the hospital.

“I did not like it in the hospital at all,” Olivia said. “It was scary.”

But after a week of treatments in the hospital and a couple more weeks of recuperating at home, Olivia was back to her bubbly self.

Olivia will need to have her heart checked yearly and the family stays on constant look-out for any sign of fever, but Olivia is now, in her words, “all spiffy.”

After this ordeal, Vicky and Jeff have a new respect and empathy for parents of sick kids. Their stay at the Ronald McDonald House has sparked them to become involved in fundraising for the charity.


Copyright ©2010

Author: By Debbie Gordon
Source: The Desert Sun
2.2 from 5 votes
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