Child captures the hearts of emergency crews

Posted Mar 26, 2007 by Brandigal (Donna)

A 2 year old suffers from a very rare epileptic condition called Dravet’s syndrome.
Anna Conte is just 22 months old and already has been to the hospital emergency room 51 times.
Anna suffers from Dravet's syndrome. She was diagnosed with it at the age of 10 months. This is a condition that stops her from breathing and she turns blue and arrests within seconds of the seizure. There is no warning of them either.
She used to have about 3 to 5 in a week but now she has a lot less because of the new medicines and tracheotomy the doctors did in October.
Because of this, doctors have put a permanent hole in her trachea. This allows them to be able to put air into her lungs as quickly as possible when she is having a seizure. She also needs a feeding tube into her stomach to help her gain weight and take her medicines easier.
The firefighters have responded so many times that they now think of her as family and one of the firefighters said seeing her gasping for breath does not get easier. No matter how many times you go there, it’s enough to scare you,
Over 12 emergency responders took part in a training course to learn more about Dravet's syndrome and other pediatric conditions.
Anna needs 24/7 supervision but aside from her condition she is a normal 2 year old. A health aide comes in 4 nights a week to help the family. The other 3 nights Wendy, her mother, stays awakes and wakes her.
Her seizures can last over an hour and because of being deprived of oxygen, many who suffer from Dravet have developmental problems, especially with their speech.
Anna has an 8 year old brother and 5 year old sister and they both look out for her. The 8 year old will dial 911 when his mother is helping Anna with an attack.
Dravet's syndrome affects fewer that 500 worldwide. There is less than 50 that have it in the United States.
More information on Dravet's Syndrome can be found here.
It is good that she is developing normally. I am glad they know what to do now and she gets the medical attention she needs quickly.