They say time heals all wounds, but for parents who have lost a child, the pain and loss never goes away no matter how much time has passed.
So when 1 Florida mom read an article about a 4-year-old’s mysterious death, the thought that something similar could happen to her daughter absolutely terrified her. 1 year later, however, it ended up being the thing that saved her daughter’s life…
An Unexpected Call
On Monday, April 16, 2018, Florida mom Lacey Grace sent her 4-year-old daughter to preschool like she did every other Monday morning. She didn’t expect to see her daughter until the school day was finished, however, in the middle of the day she got a call from the preschool requesting that she come pick Elianna up.
According to the preschool, Elianna had a fever and needed to be taken home. The staff also explained to Lacey that Elianna would have to stay home for at least 24 hours as part of a policy to try and keep illnesses from spreading to the other children…
A Day Of Rest
Lacey took Elianna home and let her rest. The next day, Elianna seemed better, but because she couldn’t go back to school that day, Lacey brought Elianna to work with her at the family’s business. According to Lacey, her 4-year-old spent the day quietly coloring and playing in a corner at the office.
The Fever Returns
On Wednesday morning, Elianna was feeling fine so Lacey dropped her off at preschool. However, just a few hours later, Lacey got a call from the preschool staff. They explained that Elianna’s fever was back and that she needed to be picked up again and brought home…
Developing Immune Systems
Normally, Lacey wouldn’t have been too concerned. As a parent to a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, she knows that kids get sick and often, the only thing to do is let them rest as their immune systems fight whatever bacteria or virus is in their system.
‘A Worried Parent’
“There are so many times I have taken my kid to the doctor, saying I’m being a worried parent, and they say it’s a viral thing, give it a few days,” Lacey explained. However, when she picked Elianna up from preschool with a fever for the 2nd time in a week, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was seriously wrong…
A Healthy Child
Elianna had been sick before like any other child, but she was normally a healthy child and never had any serious health concerns in the past. However, after picking the 4-year-old up from preschool, Lacey couldn’t stop thinking about an article that she read in the news about a year prior.
The previous summer, a 4-year-old boy named Frankie Delgado Jr. tragically died days after inhaling a large amount of water while splashing at the Texas City Dike. According to his family, Frankie started showing symptoms of ‘dry drowning’ or ‘secondary drowning’ days after the incident…
Rare Forms Of Drowning
Both complications occur when water gets trapped in the respiratory system. In dry drowning, inhaled water makes the airway spasms without ever reaching the lungs. In secondary drowning, water is inhaled into the lungs, which can lead to pulmonary edema. It can become difficult to breathe and get enough oxygen into the body, which can lead to death even days after inhaling water.
Missing The Symptoms
Unfortunately for Frankie and his family, no one knew what dry or secondary drowning was or what symptoms to look out for when he suddenly stopped breathing a few days later. After passing away, however, doctors suggested Frankie might have been killed by a bacterial infection…
The Red Flags
While Frankie’s cause of death wasn’t clear, his parents explained that they might have been able to save him if only they had known the signs that he was struggling to get enough oxygen. After reading the heartbreaking story, Lacey made sure to familiarize herself with the symptoms, including vomiting, coughing, blue or gray skin, and lethargy.
1 Year Later
A year later, Lacey suddenly remembered Frankie’s story while sitting in the car with her 4-year-old, who had experienced a similar incident to Frankie the weekend before while she was at her grandparents’ home in Bradenton, Florida…
Visiting The Grandparents
According to Lacey, Elianna had spent the afternoon of April 14th at her grandparents home playing in their pool. While playing, she blew water at a family member through a pool noodle. 1 of her relatives playfully splashed her back, but she had her mouth open and was in the middle of inhaling.
Elianna started coughing and vomited up water over the next few minutes. About 30 minutes later, however, Eliana seemed fine and was back playing in the pool just like before. The next day, she seemed perfectly normal, so Lacey didn’t think anything was wrong…
A Life-Saving Article
The following Wednesday afternoon, however, Lacey felt something was wrong and couldn’t stop thinking about what happened to Frankie. “I never would have correlated that fever to the pool incident if I hadn’t of read that story about Frankie,” Lacey said. “I was like, this is not going to happen to Elianna.”
A Trip To Urgent Care
Instead of going home and letting Elianna rest, she drove straight to an Urgent Care. During the car ride, Lacey noticed her daughter was shivering even though she had a fever. When the doctors performed an X-ray, her skin started turning purple…
“The doctor came out and said ‘You have to find the nearest emergency room,’” Lacey explained. “‘You need to pick the closest one. Just go.’” Lacey rushed Elianna to the hospital, where doctors were able to determine she had a severe bacterial infection in her lungs. According to the team of doctors, the infection in her lungs, which started when she inhaled the pool water, was making it hard for Elianna to breathe. Unfortunately, all they could do was fight the infection and inflammation but they would have to wait for the water in her lungs to clear on its own.
The Right Place At The Right Time
Sometime early Thursday morning, Elianna’s oxygen levels plummeted, but because she was in the hospital, doctors and nurses were able to save her from suffocating. “’This is why she’s here. Thank God you brought her in,’” Lacey said about what doctors told her that night. “‘This is why you’re here. Nothing’s going to happen to her with all these resources here…’”
2 Days Later…
After 2 days and a round of strong antibiotics, Elianna was finally able to breathe on her own and stopped wheezing. While Elianna’s case wasn’t a normal secondary drowning case, Lacey knows she wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for the article about Frankie.
Making A Difference
Lacey later reached out to Frankie’s family to thank them for coming forward with their experience. If they hadn’t, Elianna wouldn’t be alive today. “Something with your story is making us cry. We miss Frankie every day. We do everything we can to get his story out there to prevent this from happening. We’re glad to see it’s making a difference,” Frankie’s sister told Lacey.
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