Our First "Oh Crap" Moment…


Yesterday we went to the Annotto Bay Health Center, an outpatient clinic in St. Mary’s Parish that is peacefully located on the water. Although the staff did not know we were coming, they were very welcoming and we knew we would be of use as there were rows of Moms and Children already lined up. Again, we saw a mix of URIs, rashes, Tinea, and constipation, but there was one patient that made us both skip a heartbeat, if only for a minute.

A mom was sent over to us with her 3 month baby from the nurse. She was quiet, though polite. She said that after her baby was born, he had to be admitted for a few days because he was breathing fast. The breathing was improved, though mom reports that he had a chest x-ray and EKG that per mom “showed that one side of his heart was bigger than the other” – cue Oh Crap! She was referred for an echocardiogram, though she could not afford it, and was subsequently referred to a cardiologist in Kingston that had an available appointment in September (7 months from now!). Upon further history, the baby was doing well, feeding and thriving (with occasional sweats), no pallor or cyanosis, and developmentally appropriate. His exam did reveal a very soft mid-systolic murmur at the apex and LLSB, though no signs of heart failure. Our portable pulse ox (Thank God and Dr. Gunkleman from Akron) showed sats of 96%. We were reassured by our findings and planned to look up the Xray and EKG tomorrow when we go to the hospital that the tests were performed. Our thoughts were that this baby was probably fine and maybe had a small VSD, and his EKG probably was just RVH (cue Dr. Bockoven, “RVH in a newborn is normal!” mantra). We told mom that we would check on all this and for her to follow up with us in 1-2 weeks, and to keep her appointment with cardiology in September. In the end we were much more comfortable, but what a scary chief complaint!!

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