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‘Anything with your child is serious’ : A mother recounts her terrifying experience  

While watching the Academy Awards with her husband Chad*, Sharon, heard something odd coming from the baby monitor

... set up in her two- and half-year-old sons’ bedroom. Running to the room as fast as she could she found her son Luca in his crib having a seizure. This was not something that had happened before.   

“It was terrifying. His eyes were rolled back into his head, and he felt like a rag doll. My husband called 9-1-1 and within minutes firefighters were running up the stairs to his bedroom followed by paramedics,” said Sharon. 

Orangeville Firefighters, Jake, Dave, Mason, and Ryan comforted the family as paramedics completed the initial assessment of Luca. 

Alyssa, Shawn, and Bethany, Paramedics, checked Luca in his bedroom and asked questions about his health. Sharon shared that they had been at Headwaters two weeks prior as Luca was having a hard time breathing, his fever had spiked, and he was throwing up. Sharon was relieved to find out that it was not COVID-19 but now with the seizure panicked by what it might be. 

“The paramedics were fantastic, calm, quick, and thoughtful. One even held Luca so I could get my coat on before we loaded into the ambulance. I never felt like we weren’t their focus while they were with us,” recalled Sharon. 

Before leaving Sharon said goodbye to her husband and eldest son, seven-year-old Daniel. Both would need to stay behind due to visitor restrictions at the hospital.  

Daniel, a warrior who is always quick to protect his brother, asked if Luca had pinworms as he had just learnt about that in school. Sharon reassured him that his brother would be okay and not worry.  

Having slept through the entire experience, while on the stretcher in the ambulance, Luca finally came to and began to cry. He was scared, confused, and unaware of what was happening to him. 

In the Emergency Department, they were met by Allison, a nurse in our Emergency Department, and were quickly moved into a room. Luca was hooked up to monitors and had his temperature taken. Allison brought him Tylenol to bring down his fever and a bowl as he continued to throw up. 

“Each time Luca threw up the nurse would come and change his bed. We tried to use the bowl, but toddlers aren’t always best at cooperating. I thought the nurse would be frustrated by having to return each time but instead she was kind and caring,” recalled Sharon.  

Sharon cleaned Luca using a basin Allison provided, shared frequent updates with her husband, and eventually both rested while they waited for the doctor to see him.  

“As we waited, I could hear the nurses in the other room partnering up to help each other with their patients. You could tell by how they were interacting that they were quite a team,” recalled Sharon. 

Dr. Neal Riekenbrauck, a physician in our Emergency Department, came into the room and did a full checkup, looking at his ears and throat, listening to his chest, and seeing if he had any rashes. By this point Luca was much more himself and asked if he could go home. 

Luca had experienced a febrile seizure due to the rapid increase in his body temperature. Three to five percent of Canadian children experience this type of convulsion and typically grow out of it by the age of five. Dr. Riekenbrauck provided instructions for how to manage his fevers with medication based on his weight and age so he didn’t have another experience like this one as that would be dangerous for him. 

Shortly thereafter they were discharged, and Chad and Daniel came to take them home.  

“Anything with your child is serious especially when they are little and can’t tell you what they are going through. The next day you would never even know it had happened. It was like a bad dream. Luca was completely fine, running around and playing with Daniel,” recalled Sharon. 

Sharon through tears, explained how she had never had a bad visit to our hospital. Even when terrified she has always felt reassured because of the experts that took over while they needed care and their commitment to delivering the best experience possible. In fact, Luca was born at Headwaters nearly three years ago.   


Photo caption: Several members of the incredible team that cared for Luca.  

*Names have been changed to protect the patient’s privacy.