August 26, 2021

'You've made a choice for my daughter, too': One nurse's viral plea to unvaccinated Americans

Daily Briefing

    Highlighting one of the struggles of serving on the pandemic front line, an ED nurse believes she gave Covid-19 to her three-year-old daughter after contracting it from an unvaccinated patient. She urges those who are still hesitant about the vaccines to get vaccinated now—to protect not only themselves, but also children like her daughter who are too young to be vaccinated, Andrea Eger writes for Tulsa World.

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    An ED nurse's family struggle with Covid-19

    Due to a surge in Covid-19 cases, Amelia Cannon, an RN in the ED at the Children's Hospital at Saint Francis, in Tulsa, Okla., has also been working in the rooms of Covid-19 patients, Eger writes.

    Many of the Covid-19 patients at the hospital are unvaccinated, and Cannon reported that after a few shifts with these patients, she started experiencing symptoms herself.

    Then, each member of Cannon's household became sick. Her husband, Kyle, and one-year-old daughter, Alice, had only mild symptoms. Cannon attributes this to her husband being vaccinated and her daughter having some immunity from being nursed by a vaccinated mother, Eger writes.

    But her three-year-old daughter, Aurora, had more intense symptoms, and they became more severe a week after becoming symptomatic—leading Cannon and her husband to call the paramedics.

    "She was very lethargic. We could barely keep her awake. She had a fever of 104 to 105," Cannon said. "They agreed with us that her vital signs didn’t look good, and she needed to be brought in."

    Aurora was admitted to the hospital with a fever of 106.8 degrees, a heart rate of 165, and a case of pneumonia, Eger writes.

    According to Cannon, doctors initially believed that strong antibiotics and a few days of supplemental oxygen would allow Aurora to recover. However, her blood oxygen levels began dropping rapidly after small body movements, and her condition worsened when she went into sudden respiratory distress after waking up from a nap.

    Soon after, Aurora was transferred to the pediatric ICU and placed on a BiPap machine.

    Cannon says her training and experiences as a nurse have been "a blessing and a curse" during her daughter's hospitalization. While she can have medical discussions with her daughter's physicians, she also has a greater understanding than most parents about what could happen to her daughter, Eger writes.

    "Emotionally, it's obviously the hardest thing I've ever had to watch," Cannon said. "You can talk to a middle schooler and you can tell a teenager, 'Look, this is what you need to do to get better.' But to a three-year-old, it's just confusion and fear. She doesn’t know why she can’t go home. She doesn't know why her family can't be here with her."

    Cannon added, "Sometimes I wish I was completely clueless so I didn't know what could happen."

    'You've made a choice for my daughter, too'

    On Aug. 12, her daughter's second night in the hospital, Cannon posted a message on Facebook to highlight her frustration and fears about what was happening to Aurora and other children like her.

    "I don’t normally speak on topics like this, but I feel that something needs to be said. If you choose not to be vaccinated, you’ve made a choice for my daughter, too. Your choice led to my innocent child being hospitalized," Cannon wrote. "So forgive me, but I am angry. I am angry that I have done EVERYTHING right. Angry that I come to work and exhaust myself to treat unvaccinated patients. Only to bring it home to my babies. Can you imagine my frustration? My guilt? My fear?"

    In response to her Facebook post, Cannon has received thousands of supportive comments, and friends launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover her daughter's medical expenses and a Meal Train for her family at home, Eger writes.

    But Cannon said that what she wants most is for her post to reach as many unvaccinated people as possible to encourage them to get the shot—not just for themselves, but for others who can't get vaccinated yet, like her own children.

    "I understand you're concerned about the vaccine. Trust me, I GET it. It's unfamiliar to you. But I know dozens of people that will answer any and all questions that you have, myself included," she wrote. "So PLEASE. Educate yourself. And make better choices. For yourself and for everyone else around you. My babies included." (Eger, Tulsa World, 8/24)

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