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New York

Vince and Ava

As told by their mother, Angela.

My children, now ten and eight, were only five and two-and-a-half when my nightmare with C. diff started.

My son was constantly sick as a baby with ear infections once a month. Since my pediatrician never believed in letting them heal themselves, and I didn’t press strongly against the idea, my son got prescriptions for each infection.

In June 2008, my son had an ear infection, as did my daughter. To both of them my pediatrician prescribed an antibiotic: Omnicef, as I recall. They both immediately had stomach issues, but I attributed it to the antibiotics and was not alarmed. One week later, they were still in pain and had fever. My usual pediatrician was on vacation, so I went to see a pediatrician who was new to us. She informed me their ear infections were worse. Onto amoxicillin they both went.

I had no idea how powerful the dose was that they were prescribed. I trusted the pediatrician. She was my nephew’s doctor, after all. Ten days after they began this second course of antibiotics, they finished the medication and started having very high fevers. The strange part is it was both my children, not just one. I called my pediatrician, who was now back in the office, and told him that they were on another antibiotic and were now having fevers and diarrhea. He assured me that it was a stomach virus. I continued to call him almost daily and brought my children in to him at least twice in the fourteen days that followed that initial phone call. My children were in extreme pain. They continued to have fevers, and their stools were bloody and full of pus. I was continually reassured that it was a stomach virus.

My husband and I were certain their conditions was not normal. We took our children to the emergency room. Staff there reluctantly did a stool culture and sent us home. The following day I received a phone call from the hospital that my children were positive for something that I had never heard of. Both my kids had C. diff.

They were prescribed metronidazole. Still unaware of what this was, but relieved that my children would finally be getting help, I called my pediatrician. He was adamant that it was impossible. Children do not get C. diff, he declared. He was angry and challenged me. The hospital results were sent to him, and immediately he began calling me relentlessly telling me that my children would die unless I put them on vancomycin.

I was appalled that someone who dismissed me for so long was now demanding that I do what he told me to do. We immediately decided that he would no longer be our children’s pediatrician.

The metronidazole did not help. We proceeded to see every and any doctor we could. Gastrointestinal doctors, specialists, and anyone who would talk to us: we booked an appointment.

Finally we came across an infectious disease doctor who had experience with C. diff and children.

After two months and once course each of metronidazole and vancomycin, my daughter was finally free of C. diff. My son would still need an additional course of vancomycin beyond what my daughter needed. All told, it was more than three months of being sick. People were nervous to be around my children. We worried they would die. By October, my son was finally free of C. diff.

I still live with the fear each and every day. My new pediatrician today is very anti-medication and my children have only been on antibiotics twice in the years since this ordeal. We no longer believe in antibiotics unless it is an extreme case and absolutely necessary.

The notion that C. diff only affects old people and patients in hospitals is false. My children got C. diff from antibiotics. They were not exposed to it in a hospital or from being in contact with someone who was infected. Pediatricians need to be better informed and need to promote using probiotics and think twice before prescribing antibiotics when they are not absolutely necessary.

My children are beautiful and healthy, and their bodies and immune systems are stronger today because they can now fight off infections on their own without the help of medication.

Our struggle with C. diff is something that will affect my children, my husband, and me for the rest of our lives. I recently had my son retested for C. diff when he had a stomach virus, and I know that this virus is still in their bodies. The test was negative. I remain fully aware of how things could have ended if I continued to have faith in my former pediatrician. As parents, we know in our gut if something is not right with our children, and we need to not take anything for granted. We need to be advocates for our children and our loved ones.

Vince and Ava are survivors. I am grateful each and every day for the wonderful doctor who helped us and took such good care of my children.


5 AND 2 & 1/2


Other/ Non-Binary




Hospital Acquired

Other Stories

Length: 2 Months


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Length: 2 Months


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