Deborah Copaken Kogans Mothers Day wasnt exactly what she was hoping for when she woke up to discover her 4-year-old son Leo was sick with a rash. She posted a status message on the social networking site, Facebook, with a picture of her son saying she was at the pediatricians office. Little did she know, but that status message would be responsible for saving her sons life.
Leos physician first believed that he looked as though he had strep and began treating him for the infection. However, by the next morning, Leo was worse and the doctor changed the diagnosis to scarlet fever. It was after this trip to the doctor that Leos mom posted another picture of Leo and the swelling that he was experiencing.
A few moments later her phone rang telling her she needed to get Leo to the hospital immediately. The woman on the other end of the phone was her friend Stephanie. Her son, only a few years earlier, was hospitalized with a rare disease known as Kawasaki disease and Stephanie was sure Leo had the same. It wasnt long after that Kogans cousin, a pediatric cardiologist, called with the same thought.
Kogan rushed her son to the hospital where he would spend the next three weeks being treated for Kawasaki disease and liver complications.
According to the National Institutes of Health, Kawasaki disease is a rare disease that occurs in childhood that causes blood vessel walls throughout the body to become inflamed. It causes symptoms such as a high fever, swollen lymph nodes, a rash, cracked lips, swollen tongue, swollen palms and feet and redness in the eyes.
Kawasaki disease is not contagious and with medication most children fully recover. Treatment must begin immediately with high doses of intravenous gamma globulin. If untreated, it can lead to complications such as aneurysms and heart attacks.
Kogan was advised that Leo will have to have yearly echocardiograms to monitor his heart for any damage that may have occurred.
While many people across the world blame sites like Facebook for things like cyber-bullying, this is a case where posting information to a friends list saved the life of a child.