A Big Visit From a Little Patient


Sixteen-month-old Oliver Smith was losing weight, in spite of a healthy appetite. Over the course of two days, he became more and more lethargic and his appetite dwindled.

His mother, Jessica Smith of Farmington Hills, took him to his pediatrician, who felt it was a virus and he would work through it. But Oliver's condition continued to worsen that day.

"He was turning into a limp, lifeless rag doll," says Smith. "He couldn't even lift his head."

She made the decision to take Oliver to the Emergency Department at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.

"When I examined him, he was lethargic," says Varsha Mendiratta, MD. "Even when we tried to check his glucose and draw his blood, he did not move."

She ran some tests and diagnosed him with Type 1 diabetes. The staff adjusted his fluids to avoid brain swelling and minimize kidney damage. Oliver was stabilized so that he could be safely transported to Children's Hospital in Detroit.

Doctors at Children's praised the West Bloomfield Emergency Department staff's quick actions as the reason that Oliver lived to arrive at the specialty hospital for further treatment. His glucose level was at 1400, one of the highest they had seen in a child his age.

Due to the prompt diagnosis and expert care Oliver received at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, he has no residual brain or kidney damage. He has made a complete recovery and is back to playing with his big brothers.

Oliver and his family – parents Jessica and Nick, three-year-old brother Gavin, and grandfather Arthur Mack – returned recently to thank the West Bloomfield Emergency Department staff for saving the toddler's life.

"It's so good to see him running around, like the happy and healthy boy he should be!" says Dr. Mendiratta.

"One of the most powerful moments was when Mrs. Smith and Dr. Mendiratta embraced", says Pino Colone, MD, service chief, Emergency Department. "It was a very emotional moment for me."

Smith was very grateful for the happy result, and could not compliment the team enough.

The family is now planning to move their children's care to a Henry Ford pediatrician.

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