4-year-old Vernon boy suffers seizure minutes after being released from ER

Sent home too soon

When her four-year-old son woke up last Thursday moaning, groaning and writhing in pain, Ashley Laybourn's motherly instincts kicked in and she headed directly to Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

“I knew it was more than a stomach bug,” she says. “This was not normal for him.”

She and Maddox arrived at the emergency ward just before 6 a.m. and were triaged quickly. But, when they were seen by the doctor, Laybourn felt her concerns were dismissed.

“Max had a massive twitch right in front of her, and [the doctor] chalked it up to nerves.”

Laybourn told the doctor Maddox had experienced a fever-related seizure a long time ago, but had concerns this was different. His temperature at the time was 37.5 C.

She and Maddox were sent home with instructions to watch for developing signs of appendicitis.

Less than two kilometres from the hospital, Maddox experienced another seizure while in the back seat.

“I only got as far as Lincoln Lanes, and Maddox was having a full-on seizure,” says his mother.

“I panicked. I just pulled over, got him out of the car and laid him on the ground then called 911.”

What happened next is a bit of a blur for Laybourn, who says she was frantically waving for people to stop and help.

She’d like to thank the three complete strangers who stopped, especially one who calmly took her cellphone and continued to give information to paramedics.

“He was having a seizure right on the road, and it just kept going,” says Laybourn, who estimates Maddox convulsed for at least six minutes before his body went limp. By the time paramedics arrived, he was unconscious.

“They gave him oxygen, and we headed back to the hospital,” she says.

Maddox was given seizure medication upon arrival and ended up being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit for overnight monitoring. He was sent home with medication in case of another seizure and has an appointment for an EEG next week in Kamloops, to determine if he's epileptic.

“I just don’t want another mother to have to go through what I went through,” says Laybourn, who wishes the doctor would have allowed them to stay the first time they went to the hospital.

Laybourn has lodged a formal complaint with Interior Health. A spokesperson with IH cited privacy regulations for not being able to speak directly to the complaint.

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