Boy rushed from Cookeville to Vanderbilt for flu treatment


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The flu quickly turned dangerous for a family in Cookeville.

On the day the fourth flu-related death was announced in Tennessee, the family spoke out to News 2.

“I knew that he was sick and something was wrong, so I took him in,” said Kathryn McCaleb, the boy’s mother.

About a week before Christmas she said she took her 2-year-old son, Patrick, to Cookeville Regional Medical Center. Doctors saw the toddler’s symptoms and emergency-rushed him to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

“Ambulance, sirens, everything just because they wanted to get him there as quickly as possible to get him the medical attention he needed,” said McCaleb

At Vanderbilt, doctors confirmed a scary diagnosis.

“They confirmed that he had Flu B and they let us know that he had pneumonia – it was in his lungs and around his heart.”

Doctors at Vanderbilt discharged him on the same day. McCaleb said within days though, she noticed her son’s condition didn’t improve, so she brought him back to Cookeville Regional.

“At that time we didn’t realize he wasn’t getting enough oxygen. His oxygen was actually at an 82 percent,” said McCaleb.

For three days the toddler laid in a hospital bed — first with oxygen tubes, then a mask. The child was also on four different medications.

McCaleb said her son received the flu shot, so she was shocked at his diagnosis and how the virus progressed. Her advice to other parents is to trust instinct.

“I mean we have to advocate for our children and I feel like sometimes that doesn’t happen and these kids have the flu and they pass it on because they weren’t getting any treatment for it.”

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