What started with a runny nose ended with a lifeflight

CLOSE CALL: Michelle Ross and her son Samuel, who was recently flown from Gympie to The Sunshine Coast University Hospital after a close call with Influenza A and pneumonia.
CLOSE CALL: Michelle Ross and her son Samuel, who was recently flown from Gympie to The Sunshine Coast University Hospital after a close call with Influenza A and pneumonia. Contributed

WHAT started as a runny nose ended with a dramatic helicopter flight to hospital for a 15-month-old Gympie boy.

Prior to the flight, Michelle Ross, 32, said her son Samuel has suffered with a runny nose on and off for weeks but had not been particularly sick.

Ms Ross said just five days ago, on Sunday, things took a turn for the worst when Samuel's temperature spiked.

"He had the classic cold and runny nose for the total duration of about two months, but he wasn't unwell.

"Then it turned into high temperatures on Sunday night."

Ms Ross said she recorded Samuel's temperature at 39.9°C on Sunday night.

"He had a high fever, so we took him into Gympie Hospital Monday," she said.

"He was over 40°C in hospital on Monday and they took him into emergency to monitor him.

"He went downhill, he happened to be there right in front of them."

Ms Ross said the doctors had him on oxygen, and they'd given him painkillers and described the horrifying experience.

"They gave him a Ventolin puffer, thought that might help his lungs but it didn't do what they hoped," she said.

"His heart rate went up high and his ribs sucked in and he started to struggle to breathe.

"His windpipe, trachea, started to go in as he tried to breathe.

"The more he tried to breathe the more stressed he became."

Ms Ross said the hospital took great care of Samuel.

"Everyone was so helpful and great. It was a busy day in ER but they did a great job," she said.

"The doctors used their long words, but in laymen's terms they said he could have had bronchitis.

"He had some x-rays in Gympie and that showed he had some shadowing on his lungs and he had pneumonia.

"They talked about ambulance transport but then he went downhill quickly. They decided, the helicopter it is, they would take him to get help in Brisbane."

Ms Ross said Samuel then stabilised enough to go to Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

They had him on IV drip, antibiotics for pneumonia and he had influenza A," she said.

"Both of those on top of each other really knocked him around."

Samuel returned home from the hospital on Wednesday, and according to his mother, he's got his cheeky personality back and he's on the mend.

"It's hard to see your child in such a condition, not being able to breathe and not being able to do anything for him," Ms Ross said.

Michelle was beside his bed the whole time.

"We let the doctors do their thing, but he also needed his mum there to cuddle," she said.

Samuel is the youngest sibling out of five and his brothers and sisters all visited him.

"They were pretty stressed out seeing their little brother so sick."

Topics:  flu gympie gympie hospital medical emergency

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