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When there's an emergency, where do you go? If you live in Southern WV, your options are BARH or RGH. For some, that is over an hour drive from home, and when you or someone you love is sick, you want to get to the closest place and have confidence you'll be taken care of . But what happens if your concerns are not taken seriously, and you're sent home with a sick child and no answers? Unfortunately, this past week, my child and I experienced just that. On Tuesday, my son came home from school with a fever. He slept most of the evening and complained of a bad headache and stomachache. He seen his regular doctor the next day, who drew some labs, and sent us home. On Thursday, he could barely get off of the couch. He had a high fever, and kept crying out in pain with his head and stomach. His step dad and I decided to take him to the emergency room. For three hours, we nervously waited to get a bed. When we were finally called back, we sat in the hallway for almost an hour because the ER was so crowded. Once the doctor came in to see my son, we were dismissed as "overly concerned parents." Although my son had a fever of 103 and could not stand to open his eyes because his head was hurting so badly, they had planned to discharge us without running a single test. We were told he "probably had parasites," or "maybe an autoimmune disorder," but nothing serious" His step dad and I were persistent. We knew something was wrong. We were offered to have labs drawn but were told it would be a waste of time because nothing was wrong with him. The doctor reluctantly agreed to check his white blood cell count, but said he did not to run futher tests because my son was "young and didn't need exposed to radiation." We explained how worried we were and that we just wanted to know what was wrong. We were told "That is impossible, we cannot give you those answers in an emergency room." We again waited another hour and were told everything "looked great," was given a cup for a stool sample and discharge papers, and sent on our way. In the next 24 hours, my son's condition drastically changed. He continued to run a fever, was crying out in pain from a headache, began throwing up and could not stand up. He was brought to Women and Children's Hospital in Charleston where, in five minutes of arriving, we were in a room with orders for a CT scan, ultrasound, x-rays and labs. We explained to the doctor what we had been told at RGH, and he stated, "We will find out what is wrong. If we can't figure it out in the ER, we will find oit upstairs." Finally, someone was listening. I could relax a little knowing that someone would help my son instead of thinking I was just overreacting. blushing style garments for bridesmaid in pastel pink

Within an hour, we were told our son's white blood cells were very high, meaning he had an infection, and after a spinal tap, we were given news no parent wants to hear: my son had meningitis. Meningitis is dangerous and without treatment, is fatal very quickly. We were told that my son was on the verge of a seizure because his sodium was so low. If we had listened to the advice we were given at Raleigh General, I may not be planning to take him home from the hospital today, I may be planning his funeral.

As a parent, you should be able to trust that you will be taken seriously when your child is sick. After all, you know them better than anyone, and you know when something is wrong. There are only two hospitals in our area, and often the waiting rooms are packed and the waiting time to see a doctor is hours. Sometimes your child doesn't have hours to wait. It's amazing the difference between one hospital to the next. Wyoming County and Raleigh County residents should be able to put faith into local hospitals instead of driving sometimes two hours for someone to take them seriously. We are so thankful for the care and attention we have been given at CAMC, and hope that one day local hospitals will be up to par with the expertise we have witnessed at Women and Children's.

Trust your gut. Drive the extra two hours to a hospital that will listen.