'Listen to your maternal instincts' - Mum of baby who was sent home twice before being diagnosed with pneumonia
The mother of an 11-month-old baby has warned others to heed their maternal instinct after the little girl was sent home from A&E twice before being diagnosed with pneumonia.
Asta Butviliene (33), originally from Lithuania but now living in Co Armagh with her partner and two daughters, became concerned after her youngest Karina developed a bad cough and fever almost two weeks ago.
"She was vomiting and had a runny nose and nappy, so I did what every parent would do and gave her some Calpol," she said.
"That's also what the health visitor advised, but it didn't work and she just got worse."
The following day, October 21, the distraught mum rushed her baby straight to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry.
"An A&E doctor told me it was bronchitis and advised to give her Nurofen in addition to the paracetamol," Asta explained.
"But that night her breathing got really bad and I couldn't leave her side. It was dreadful."
On two occasions the anxious parent attempted to make an appointment with her GP, but was unsuccessful.
On Tuesday she returned to A&E and waited "most of the day" to see a doctor, but was appalled by the quick diagnosis.
"I was told: 'She just has a wee virus, it's normal - if you are worried, then come back tonight'," she recalled.
"I was so upset because clearly I was already worried, that's why I was in a hospital."
She had no choice but to go home, and returned for a third time the following day.
"Karina was vomiting so much that she couldn't even keep medicine down, she wasn't really getting any treatment," Asta said.
"I told my partner that I was going back and that I wasn't leaving until they did proper tests because I just knew something was wrong."
It was then that a paediatric doctor who recognised there was an infection intervened.
"He knew straight away and did X-rays, which showed a dark patch on her lungs. Then she went downhill quickly," Asta added.
She praised the attentive medic and all the staff she subsequently encountered for saving her daughter's life.
"Everyone who cared for her was wonderful. But before that, it was like: 'Oh, your child has a cough. God love you, mother'." According to the World Health Organisation, pneumonia accounts for 16pc of all deaths of children aged under five.
Karina was released from hospital last Saturday and is finishing her course of antibiotics at home. Now that she is "smiling again", her mum urged all parents to go with their gut instinct if they believe they know better than the experts.
"Lots of parents made to feel like they are worrying for no reason, but that isn't always the case. Doctors should still have to investigate anyway," she said.
"It is terrifying to think what could have happened, but I'm just happy to have my little girl back."
The Southern Trust said it did not comment on individual cases.