United States- One of the worst tetanus incidents in more than three decades occurred in the United States where a study co-authored by Dr. Carl Eriksson astoundingly revealed that more than S$800,000 was spent on a young boy confined to the ICU.
The case, which was published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revealed the perils of not undergoing a tetanus vaccination procedure. With this in mind, Dr. Erikkson, who is an associate professor of pediatric care at Oregon Health and Science University, pointed out the repercussions of the dreaded tetanus disease.
Back in 2017, the then six-year old boy had suffered a cut on his forehead while playing on a farm. Up to that moment, he had not received vaccination of any kind. A week later, symptoms associated with tetanus began to manifest. The kid soon started to experience muscle spasms, jaw-clenching, the arching of the back and neck including a generalized spasticity.
The parents only sought out medical assistance when their son started to have trouble breathing. The boy was airlifted to a pediatric hospital where he was diagnosed with tetanus. From then on, his medical condition continued to worsen.
Since his mouth could not open widely enough, the young patient had trouble drinking water. He also needed to be sedated, intubated and finally attached to a mechanical ventilator because his breathing problems persisted. Tetanus treatment including a diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine was given while he was confined to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
With the boy experiencing severe muscle pain, he was placed inside a darkened room while using earplugs. The idea behind the treatment was to limit his sensory stimulation. The plugs are there to lessen his visual and auditory stimulation. It is important that his pain and anxiety are curbed in order to tone down the severity of his muscle spasms.
For 47 days, the patient was confined to the ICU. A mechanical ventilator was attached to him for 44 days. The doctors manage to introduce more stimulation to his surroundings as his condition gradually improved. After being able to walk short distances, the boy was given rehabilitation for 17 days.
As the kid recovered fully however the family declined a second DTap dose as well as other recommended immunizations despite advice from doctors.
The actual expenses incurred during the patient’s treatment amounted to almost S$812,000 which is 72 times more than the average for pediatric hospitalization in the United States.
This case came to light following the outbreak of measles across the country. A key factor being highlighted in the study is the perils of foregoing vaccination procedures.