Help us pass Betty's Law
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At 10:09am January 31, 2019 my 7 year old daughter Betty was pronounced dead at a local ER after frantic attempts were made to save her life. The previous afternoon around 4:30pm she was discharged from Pediatric Urgent Care of Denton after having been seen. That afternoon she was diagnosed with type A flu and her father and I were told her lungs were clear. No X-Rays or Lab work was performed. She was simply given some Motrin for her fever and sent home.
Betty was autistic and non-verbal except for a few small words. She had no way to relay to us how she was feeling. We heavily relied on medical professionals to diagnosis her due to her inability to speak. That evening she perked up and showed some normal behaviors. She had even awoken in the early morning hours of January 31st to run to my bedroom to snuggle and play her iPad. I had put her to back to bed and she continued playing her iPad. I believed she was getting better. However, a couple hours after I had put her back to bed and fell back to sleep my husband had woke me asking me for help.
Betty had begun having some diarrhea and was tired. We attributed that to the flu and her having awoke so early. My husband took her mattress off her bed and placed it in the living room on the floor. He was working in the living room that morning to keep an eye on her. She lay there and watched her favorite show before letting out a yawn. My husband told her that he was going to turn off the TV and play some classical music which she loved. He turned on the music and walked into his office. A couple minutes later he screams for me that something was wrong with Betty. I ran into the living room and saw my daughter’s head slumped off the pillow with blood coming out of the side of her mouth. He immediately grabbed her and took her to our truck and raced to the hospital. I followed quickly behind in our other vehicle.
When I arrived at the hospital the vehicle my husband drove was still running and the doors open. I raced inside and saw the panicked look on the faces of two women who were inside. I told them my baby was there and I needed to get to her. They quickly escorted me into the room where I saw my husband who glanced at me with terror. I then scanned the room and saw several people surrounding my daughter. They had to incubate her and were performing CPR. Her legs were discolored and the reality of what was happening set in and I began screaming. I was made to go next door and lay down as they worked on my daughter. Several minutes later I heard the vitals machine flatline. My husband came in and told me what I already knew.
Betty was gone. I screamed that it was impossible. She had just been playing her iPad just a few hours before. That she was getting better! This could not be! But it was. Shortly thereafter I was able to see my daughter. I walked in and saw her. My beautiful baby girl, laying lifeless on the hospital bed with the incubation tube still in her mouth. I wanted so desperately for it to be removed but was told they couldn’t remove anything because the coroner’s office would not allow it. So I dropped to my knees beside her and placed my arms over her tiny 40 pound body. And I wouldn’t leave until they made me. When the coroner arrived we were made to feel as if we were the ones who may have harmed her. But after the medical examiner examined her he knew she had no injuries.
A month later we received her autopsy report. Betty had died from streptococcal pneumonia and had been septic as well as having type A flu. She had nearly 1/3 cup of fluid in her left lung and the damage was so severe she had been hemorrhaging. That is why the blood had been coming from her mouth. She also had the beginning of pneumonia in her right lung. Betty had been misdiagnosed at the urgent care. The urgent care had an x-ray machine on site and the ability to take lab work. Yet did neither. We now know Betty had many different factors that would warrant further testing. But the people who were there at the Urgent care were grossly negligent at diagnosing her. They failed Betty and our family. The person, Madeline Broemsen, who saw Betty we found out was an APN who never identified herself as such. We never even saw a name for the woman who took Betty’s vitals or any of the other staff. There was no supervising doctor on site. In fact, the supervising doctor, Doctor Michael Cowan was on trip in a remote area of Cambodia when Betty was seen and the day she died.
Since Betty’s death her father and I have been working tirelessly with local politicians to create change. We have been interviewed by several news outlets and the story has been picked up worldwide.
APN, Madeline Broemsen has had disciplinary action taken against her license by the Texas Nursing Board due to Betty's case.
Currently there is a draft in place to go before the house in Texas to ensure that all medical professionals must wear a badge clearly stating their name and credentials or face having to pay a fine. The bill is HB2596 and will when passed be called “Betty’s Law”. We currently have the support Physicians for Patient Protection, The Texas Autism Society and the Governor’s Office to get this bill passed. We are asking for you to sign and share to help strengthen our push to help patients and their caregivers have the knowledge of who is providing the patient care.
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