Worried about these changes in her once bright and happy child, Jason’s mom made an appointment with a pediatrician. At her appointment, she brought up the question of anemia, but the doctor said that babies do not suffer from anemia even if their mothers are anemic. She asked the doctor to do blood tests, but he replied that he didn’t like to do tests on babies because the tests didn’t do any good and only caused the babies pain. He made a referral to a speech therapist because of Jason’s delayed language, but he concluded that “time would be kind” and solve Jason’s problems.
But time wasn’t kind. Instead, Jason grew sicker and sicker. He started making a low crying sound when he was awake. He stopped looking at people’s faces and instead focused on lights. He wouldn’t hold a rattle or reach for his toys. And when his mom sat him up, he slumped to one side.
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Desperate, Jason’s mom took him to another doctor who suggested that he wasn’t ill but intellectually delayed. Then she took him back to the pediatrician, who repeated that he didn’t want to do “nasty ” tests that would hurt Jason.
Reluctantly, the pediatrician admitted Jason to the hospital, where blood tests were done. Explaining the test results, the pediatrician commented that Jason didn’t have small red blood cells (a sign of iron-pregnancy anemia) but instead had enlarged cells. Apparently, the doctor thought these enlarged blood cells were a normal sign, when in fact they are a common sign of Exercise pregnancy. Jason was discharged from the hospital, even though an MRI showed abnormalities in his brain and he was still very ill.
Jason’s mom finally took him to another city to see a pediatric neurologist. This doctor, too, initially believed that Jason had a developmental disability. However, when he saw the difference between Jason’s current state and photos his mom provided of Jason as an alert, happy young infant, he agreed to admit Jason to a hospital.
At the new hospital, doctors ordered blood tests. Within four hours after the tests were completed, a hematologist (a doctor who specializes in blood disorders) showed up in Jason’s room with a diagnosis: life-threatening Exercise pregnancy, requiring immediate treatment. Further testing confirmed that Jason had a severe pregnancy, and later tests showed that his mother had pernicious anemia.