An 8-month-old boy from Long Beach, California, had a penny stuck in his throat for 37 days before doctors figured out what was causing his illness.
In June, Samantha Knox’s son, E.J., became listless and withdrawn, with a fever of 103 degrees and a rash on his belly, KCAL reports.
Knox took E.J. to multiple pediatricians and urgent care centers, and was told he had a viral infection.
When she asked her family’s health care provider, HealthCare Partners, to run some tests to confirm it was a virus after E.J.’s fever was on its fifth day, the company denied the request, Knox wrote on a Change.org petition she started.
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“We would be in and out of the hospital 6 times over the next month,” she wrote. “Doctors and nurses kept insisting it was a virus.”
“It was heart-wrenching to watch my son completely suffer,” Knox told KCAL.
After more than a month had passed and E.J. was still sick, Knox took him to Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. The doctors there discovered what was causing E.J.’s illness -- he had a penny stuck in his throat.
“When they gave me the news, I immediately started crying,” Knox said.
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E.J. had surgery, but Knox believes that would have been done sooner if the other doctors had taken an X-ray of her son.
"It had been there so long he had 2 ulcers in his throat and his air supply was compromised,” Knox explained in the Change.org petition. “Had the coin moved while he was sleeping, he could have suffocated.”
Knox does not know how the penny became lodged in E.J.’s throat.
“This very small object could’ve potentially been the worst outcome for my son,” she said.
Through her petition on Change.org, Knox is calling on HealthCare Partners and demanding that “they pay for their negligence.”
“They need to pay for our medical bill and reimburse me for the loss of paid time off,” she wrote. “We are our children’s advocate when they cannot speak, and they should have listened to us when we knew our child was in trouble.”
The petition currently has more than 85,000 supporters. If it reaches its goal of 150,000, it will be sent to Eric Alegria, Sr., director of operations at HealthCare Partners.