From a young age, we’re all instructed to trust our doctors completely. Doctors contain the knowledge that we need to live happy and healthy lives. But, doctors are human, and they can sometimes make mistakes. For one family, the repercussions of such a mistake were serious for a baby that was mistakenly given the wrong vaccination.
Baby Develops “Floppy Baby Syndrome” After Receiving the Wrong Vaccine from a Doctor
Dr. Veronica Valdivia of Victoria, Texas offered to give Anita Vasquez’ two children their vaccinations during the same visit. The brother was to receive his second HPV vaccination and the sister, Aniya Blu, was attending her 4-month-old well-baby visit. But, confusion soon erupted.
The nurse who was preparing the vaccinations put both vaccines into a single bag and, without checking the label, the doctor mistakenly gave the 4-month-old baby her brother’s HPV shot, a dosage that was much too high for her tiny body.
Upon realizing her mistake, Dr. Valdivia did not report the incident to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, as she was required to by law. She did not run any tests on the baby, or keep it at the doctor’s office for observation, but instead sent the baby home with its mother.
Dr. Valdivia later called Anita and explained that there had been a “medical administration error” and that she had called Merck (the HPV vaccine manufacturer) and was told to watch for swelling of the arm and labored breathing.
Instead, the small baby developed hypotonia, a form of muscle weakness, also known as “floppy baby syndrome”. The baby refused to drink from a bottle and developed seizures.
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“I was mortified. I was crying hysterically,” Said the babies mother, Anita.
For her mistake, Dr. Valdivia was fined $500 and required to attend an 8-hour remedial education course. But that doesn’t take away the loss of trust that Anita and her family experienced in the medical system.
“I was terrified of the doctor and I was also concerned not only for my daughter’s health. I was concerned for the other patients that go to her clinic,” Vasquez said.
Doctors Being Lightly Penalized Seems to Be a Trend
Believe it or not, this story is not one-of-a-kind. Individuals worldwide have had similar experiences of “errors” or reactions to vaccinations.
In the United States, there is an organization, called the National Vaccine Compensation Program, which is designed to give compensation to those who have been injured by a vaccine. Since the year of 1988 over 19,098 petitions have been filed from people claiming to experience side effects from vaccinations. And, for every 1 million vaccinations distributed, only 1 individual will be compensated.
In the case of baby Aniya, pediatrician Dr. Valdivia seems to have been lightly penalized for her mistake, but that isn’t the end of the story. After switching pediatricians, the babies mother was then accused of harming her daughter for profit and attention.
At the Texas Children’s Hospital, the baby was found to have a problem with sodium. She was then diagnosed with partial adrenal sufficiency and treated with steroids. When that diagnosis was retracted she was diagnosed with a viral infection.
Now, Anita sees her daughter only once a week.
How You Can Keep Your Family Safe
There is nothing more heartbreaking than having your trust in someone broken, especially if that trust is required for the safety of your children. The story of Aniya Blu shows us how involved in our children’s lives we need to be in order to ensure that they’re getting the best care that they can. Doctors are human too and they can make mistakes, so, for their sake, it is important for us to become educated so that we can keep them safe.
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