Losing a child to Aspiration syndrome
There was a lady who confided her sad story to me.
It has been a month since the loss of her child. She was 1 year 4 months old, a girl.
Her death was sudden, very early in the morning and all alone.
She usually woke up at 5-6 a.m. for milk.
That day her father woke up to prepared the milk.
She drank alone as usual as she had done hundreds of times.
And went back to sleep.
Suddenly she cried for like few seconds.
They rushed towards her.
She gasped 3 times for breath and stopped.
Her body slowly became cool and stiff.
Her mother tried to commence CPR. She wasn't trained but she saw on tv and tried to give mouth-to-mouth. She could hear the rumbling sound of the aspirated milk. However, her little girl remained unresponsive.
She was pronounced dead in Health clinic.
She told me after a month, she just couldn't feel stable emotionally. A month has passed by but to her it was like yesterday. Her girl was healthy and cheerful the night before. She went away so quickly in the early dawn that her mother didn't get to play with her for the last time, or even say goodbye.
She wasn't ready to let. She couldn't see any other kids on the street because they reminded her of her girl. How she wished to have Nahilah in front of her to wave goodbye when she goes to work, to welcome her at the door when she comes home, again. It has been very quiet and lonely without her, she said to me.
Se kept on replaying what went wrong and what she should have done to avoid this or to handle this situation. She was a non medical personnel thus with no knowledge on how to handle emergencies.
I told her that I doubt she will feel better so soon. After all, a mother cannot lose her child. It is like somebody yanked your heart out from your chest. Painful, empty, hollow.
It wasn't her fault. It was just her time. It was nobody's fault. There was nothing she could have done. Everything happened too quickly.
I know she has accepted her fate but who can deny the feelings of a mother losing her only child at an age so tender?
She cried and I cried listening to her. If only I could help remove her sorrow, but I couldn't.
All I could do was listen to her pouring heart.
I placed myself in my shoes and the tears just kept on flowing. How embarassing:(
I feel you.
Nauzubillah May Allah protect our children and lend them to us a little bit longer. Protect them when they are away from us.
Every year, a child dying from Milk aspiration syndrome is statistically high. After the age on 1 year old, the percentage has reduced however still at a staggering percentages.
There are risk factors, children who are prone to this:-
- Any child with a history of recurrent pneumonia or chronic respiratory illness.
- Any child with neuromuscular disorders, both structural and functional (i.e., cerebral palsy, etc.).
- Children with excessive drooling, especially if seen to cough or gag on their own secretions.
- Infants/children with history of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
- Children who have acquired brain damage secondary to open or closed head injuries, with particular importance on those withbrainstem/cranial nerve involvement.
- Infants who are born prematurely.
- Infants/children with chronic heart disease.
- Infants/children with craniofacial anomalies (i.e., cleft palate, etc.).
- Infants/children with congenital syndromes.
- Children with upper airway anomalies (i.e., congenital defects of the larynx, trachea, and esophagus; tracheoesophageal fistulas).
- Children who exhibit failure to gain weight or poor weight gain; diagnosis of failure to thrive.
- Sucking and swallowing incoordination or weak suck.
- Breathing disruption or apnea during feeding.
- Children with behavioral feeding problems (i.e., refusal to eat new foods or unexplained food refusal; rigid feeding behaviors;irritablilty during or after feeding).
- Children with feeding periods longer than 30 to 40 minutes.
- Children receiving enteral/tube feedings, especially under the age of 2.
- Children who exhibit aversive responses to oral stimulation
Isabella had a serious Gastro reflux until she was 3 months old. When that happened my reaction was very fast even if I was sleeping.
I would jumped and turned her to her side (mengiring) so that she won't get choked.
Then, I lifted her up to my forearm with her abdomen faced down while patting her back to prevent the milk being aspirated. Check her breathing and color. Not pale, breathing as usual. It was good that she coughed hard. Sometimes, the milk came out from her nose. That was why I didn't let her be with anyone not trusting others managing her when that happened.
Now she has outgrown that.
I think it would help us if we know CPR for children and how to manage choking.
I cannot teach you in my blog because it will be very long and difficult to describe.
It is better if we are aware on what to do because when that happens, it will take only a few minute before we will lose our children. Children are very fragile unlike adult. That is why, early measures are very important.
There are so much pain in the world:(