A 6-year-old boy who never received any vaccines spent almost two months in a hospital and racked up over $800 thousands in medical bills after he contracted tetanus from a cut on his forehead.
His case in 2017 was the first in Oregon for pediatric tetanus in over 30 years, according to the reports of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the CDC, tetanus is an acute neuromuscular disease where Clostridium tetani bacteria enters the body through an open wound.
The report said the unidentified child was playing on a farm when he suffered a laceration on his forehead.
His wound was cleaned at home but after almost a week, the boy suffered from involuntary muscle spasms. He also developed opisthotonus, spasms of muscles causing backward arching of the spine, neck, and head.
The boy’s parents contacted emergency services when he started to have difficulty breathing. The 6-year-old was airlifted to a tertiary pediatric medical center.
He showed more symptoms of tetanus and his condition worsened. He also developed more severe muscle spasms and a high fever.
A report stated the child spent 57 days in the hospital, 47 of those in the intensive care unit. His inpatient care bills racked up $811,929.
The child had never received any vaccines and even though he had a near-death experience, his family refused any vaccines after he was discharged. The boy received one of the recommended doses of DTaP.
“Despite extensive review of the risks and benefits of tetanus vaccination by physicians, the family declined the second dose of DTaP and any other recommended immunizations,” the report from CDC read.
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