Mom of Toddler Who Underwent Liver Transplant After Severe Hepatitis Speaks Out

Baelyn is one of at least 180 children in 36 states suffering from pediatric hepatitis that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is investigating

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Kelsea Schwab the mother of Baelyn Schwab tells NBC 7 about Baelyn’s frightening episode of severe hepatitis.

Baelyn is one of at least 180 children in 36 states suffering from pediatric hepatitis that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is investigating.

An otherwise healthy two-year-old Baelyn’s mother noticed unusual signs which led to her springing into action.

“We went to the ER and we were probably there for like 3 hours and we were sent via helicopter to University of Minnesota Children’s Masonic,” Kelsea Schwab said.

While at the hospital lab results showed signs of illness and liver damage.

Baelyn was eventually diagnosed with a severe type of hepatitis.

“Over the course of those 3 or 4 days everything kind of drastically went downhill. So, we were told on Thursday that they were activating her on the transplant list,” Schwab said.

Baelyn was successfully treated at M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital, where she received a liver transplant.

M Health Fairview Masonic Children's Hospital has seen a rise in unexplained severe hepatitis cases in children.

“So typically, as a liver transplant surgeon here last year we did 116 liver transplants out of which 10 being children, and we very rarely do liver transplants for acute liver failure in children. Like we do like one a year or maybe one every other year, and this year we have already done two, so that's very unusual,” Surgical Director of Liver Transplantation at M Health Fairview Masonic Children's Hospital Dr. Srinath Chinnakotla said.

Medical Professionals are urging calm since the illness is rare but also cautioning parents to be observant of changes in their children.

“This is not something you should panic about, however, having said that, it's always important to be proactive. So, if your child has any fever or jaundice and is not acting right or is irritable, then I think it would be extremely important to go to the nearest emergency room or your pediatrician so that they can evaluate the child further,” Dr. Chinnakotla said.

Schwab is also urging parents to be proactive.

“I always know that mothers’, fathers, whatever are the best advocates for their kids. And if you send something that's even just a little bit off, you have to do something about it because you're going to regret it,” Schwab said.

The CDC and other medical professionals say parents should be aware of the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • dark urine
  • light-colored stools (poop)
  • joint pain
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin)

The CDC also says to keep children up to date on all their vaccinations and help your child take everyday actions to help prevent disease, like: washing hands often, avoiding people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and teaching them to avoid touching the eyes, nose, or mouth.

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