A seven-year-old autistic child has died of sepsis as she was non-verbal and couldn’t communicate that she wasn’t feeling well, her father has explained.
Betty Wattenburger, a seven-year-old girl from Aubrey, Texas, fell ill in January of 2019 and heartbreakingly, a nurse misdiagnosed her with the flu based on her symptoms when she was actually suffering from sepsis.
Jeremy Wattenburger, Betty’s dad, has now spoken out about his daughter’s tragic death, he is warning other parents to be vigilant during the flu seasons and understand that often, serious symptoms can be misdiagnosed.
Just before his daughter passed away, Jeremy took a photo of Betty to show how ill his little girl was. In the photo, you can see that she has a blue tint around her lips.
When Jeremy took Betty to see a nurse, she told him that his daughter was suffering from the flu. However, he felt that it was something much more serious.
He told CBS affiliate WKRG: “We’re asking about why is Betty … she seems to be breathing really hard and rapid.
“They said, ‘Well, it’s probably because she has a fever of 102.9.'”
When Betty was taken to the urgent care facility, no X-rays or medical tests were conducted to see if there were any underlying issues. Instead, she was sent home with Motrin to help manage her symptoms.
The following day, Jeremy said that he found Betty in the living room and that there was blood coming from her mouth.
Immediately, he took her to the emergency room. Tragically, she passed away a few hours later after doctors informed him that pneumonia had developed in her lungs.
Jeremy said: “The misdiagnosis ended up costing her her life.”
He pointed out that his daughter had passed away just less than 15 hours after taking her to the urgent care facility.
He added: “There were a lot of things that were missed.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sepsis occurs when an infection triggers a chain reaction throughout the body and it is considered a life-threatening condition.
The common symptoms include a fever, a high heart rate, confusion or disorientation, shortness of breath, and sweaty or clammy skin.
Jeremy said that as Betty couldn’t communicate or explain how sick she was feeling, he believes that additional tests should have taken place.
The family is currently seeking answers about Betty’s tragic death.
A spokesperson for the Texas Medical Board wouldn’t confirm whether or not there is an investigation taking place into the urgent care facility that Betty was taken to. However, it was said that the nurse who the seven-year-old had been visited by has since been disciplined for not properly completing medical records.
The board said that the nurse will now be undergoing additional training and education so nothing like this ever happens again.