the evening of November 18, 2004, I had just given my 13 month
old daughter, Samara, her bottle for the night and was giving
her a cuddle before I put her to bed when she vomited all
over the both of us. I didn't panic as this has happened before
and the doctor thought it was just symptoms of teething. During
the night she vomited again so I took her in to bed with me
to keep an eye on her.
next day she had stopped vomiting but now she had diarrhea.
I went to the chemist and got her some Hydralyte popsicles
for gastroenteritis. She refused to take them so I took to
syringing them to her but she fought me every time I tried
to get her to have some and I eventually gave up.
had been shopping during the day and she had fallen asleep
on the 2 minute drive home which I thought was very unusual
as she never does this. Again, I didn't worry too much as
I thought she was just tired from not getting a good night's
sleep the night before until she vomited once more at about
6pm. It was then I decided it was time she went to the hospital
to be checked out.
We arrived at emergency and she was thoroughly checked
by a nurse who said that she was slightly dehydrated but otherwise
fine. She also said we could wait for our GP if we liked and
get him to check her over but she was playing and being her
usual cheeky self so I decided to take her home. From there
I put her straight to bed.
At 4am Samara woke up crying. I went in and found her
extremely cold so
I put her in her sleeping bag and put her straight down to
The next morning I thought I heard her talking to herself
but when I went in to check on her I found her snoring and
still asleep (or so I thought). I never tried to wake her
as we both needed the sleep.
9am on Saturday morning I heard her vomiting in her sleep
and I ran into her room and picked her up and held her over
the basin in the bathroom. Then she went all floppy in my
I grabbed my things and raced up to the hospital.
We arrived at Albany Regional Hospital where the nurse
from the night before saw us and hooked Samara up to monitors.
She checked her blood sugar levels and noticed they were dangerously
low. Samara was given fluids through a bone in her leg as
they couldn't find her veins.
were then done on her lungs to see if she had inhaled any
mucus which came back clear and a CT Scan was done on her
brain but again nothing was found. It was then they decided
she needed to be flown to Princess Margaret Hospital for Children
in Perth, Western Australia for more extensive tests to be
Six hours after we arrived at the hospital in Albany,
we were eventually flown up to Perth by the Royal Flying Doctors
Service where I then came down with the gastro bug myself
after arriving at the emergency ward of PMH. My baby girl
needed me and I couldn't help her as I was so sick. Her dad
then arrived so he took over from me, which was a blessing.
she was wheeled up to ICU where she eventually woke up at
1pm on Sunday 21 November. What a relief!!! Although, she
was still very flat and we still had no answers from the doctors.
Monday night we were told what was the cause of this horrible
the next three days we helped her try to regain her strength
by feeding her every two hours with milk and glucolect. The
doctors and nurses were an absolute godsend and were amazing
with Samara and the entire family by her side.
The entire journey those few days were made much more
bearable by the wonderful staff at both Albany & Princess
Margaret Hospitals, the St. John's Ambulance drivers and the
Royal Flying Doctors service.
course now the real work starts with making sure she eats
regularly during the day and overnight and seeking medical
attention when she is sick. The overnight feed is taking Samara
a little bit to adjust to as she has been sleeping for 12
hours a night since she was 5 months old.
least we know now what caused this near tragedy and we can
try to make sure it never happens again. I thank God that
we still have our precious little girl with us today.
I urge anyone reading this, please get your child screened
immediately. It could save their life and your family a lot
is getting the word out about MCAD!
(Mother of Samara Grace Dennis born October 13, 2003)
Albany, Western Australia