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How did Canadian doctors miss typhoid?

By Viga Boland     Jan 28, 2007 in Health
4-year-old Sainsha was running a fever of as much as 104C for about 20 days. The only solution Canadian doctors and hospitals gave her parents was to keep sending her home.
In a desperate effort to get help for their child when none was forthcoming from all the doctors who examined her in Toronto hospitals, was to spend $7000 and put her and mom on a plane to New Delhi just before Christmas. In no time at all, doctors in New Delhi diagnosed her illness: typhoid fever.
Now here's the annoying part: "Sainsha's mom, Charu -- whose family had come back from a visit to India a month before Sainsha became sick -- says she told her pediatrician and a doctor at Trillium to check for typhoid." The child's pediatrician consulted a book and said it wasn't typhoid.
The parents went to Trillium and suggested they do a typhoid test. The response they got was "'We do not do these fancy tests here". That may well be true, but where was this family to turn. Why was no-one interested enough to pursue this further? A child with a temperature of 104 for 20 days?! Heaven help sick people with this attitude.
" During the weeks taking Sainsha from hospital to hospital -- everything hurt, from her belly to her eyes -- they were apparently largely dismissed as bothersome and overreacting.
They recall one stressed nurse at Sick Kids telling them after examining Sainsha: "Your daughter is not alarmingly sick -- you must understand everything works here on a priority basis."
What is alarming, and should be is that typhoid is highly contagious and even after someone gets better, they can be a carrier for life. So the little girl and her family will need constant follow-ups.
She is recovering now in New Delhi but her parents are thinking twice about staying in Canada where they had hoped there would be better health care and a better life. I can't say I blame them. What an awful experience.
But, here's the thing: will their situation, their story, bring about some need changes in both testing and attitudes?
More about Typhoid, Typhoid fever