Infantile Spasms: Mom Saves Baby’s Life After Being Dismissed by Two Hospitals

Imagine the frustration of Faustina Cavero, unable to follow her maternal instincts that told her something was wrong with her baby. Doctors at two different hospitals disagreed with her and sent Faustina and her baby home without further examination.

Then Faustina noticed her baby’s eyes were rolled back. Could it be a seizure? The baby began having spasms. Something was definitely wrong. This was Faustina’s fourth child, and experience, not instinct, told her to bring her baby daughter to a second New York hospital where she was told that her reaction was due to stress from lack of sleep. She was again dismissed.

By this time, Faustina was frightened as the spasms continued. Undaunted, she then took her baby Aaliyah to a third hospital, Mount Sinai, in Upper East Side New York.

The minute she showed the doctor the video, the baby was admitted to the hospital. A team of Mt. Sinai doctors immediately began to attend to Aaliyah. Faustina felt helpless, but all she could do at that point was watch the proceedings and worry. She described her feelings as wanting God to take her but not her baby.

About the Treatment

The doctors began to monitor the baby’s brain activity. The test results indicated Aaliyah required instant attention to prevent her from being paralyzed and unable to speak.

The baby was diagnosed with infantile spasms and is now thriving. She continues to receive monitoring and treatment at Mt. Sinai. Faustina hopes this near tragedy will alert others.

Medical Gaslighting: A Form of Gender Bias?

The terminology “Gaslighting” originated in the 1944 film of the same name. The star, Charles Boyer, schemed to convince his wife, played by Ingrid Bergman, that she cannot trust what she sees or hears. Diane O’Leary, a 2023 Fellow on Advancing Women’s Rights, submitted her opinion to CNN in a recent article, stating that it is time to be clear about gender bias.

There have been over 262 million TikTok views for the hashtag #medicalgaslighting detailing stories, primarily from women, many of whom had serious consequences after being ignored or having their symptoms dismissed.

There is no doubt that medical gaslighting is back in the news after an attempt at creating a strong movement on the subject in 2018. It looked like progress was being made, but it ended up being a watered-down, weak attempt at change.

Diane’s message is that there are no scientific studies showing how often this problem arises.

Part of the Problem

According to Diane, there are no programs to address or understand the problem, and that includes Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and other medical centers.

Gender equity has become a common theme but only for the obstacles women must overcome getting to the doctor. It does not address the obstacles women face once they are there.

Diane points to studies that show women are less likely to receive prescriptions for cardiac medications and that women’s symptoms are more often diagnosed as a mental illness.

Diane’s message results from her research articles, books, and stories on the issue of gender bias in medicine. She is pleased that the terminology “medical gaslighting” is now linked to medical gender problems but would like to see some progress toward solving gender bias.

Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) six years ago. During this period of partial remission, Rose researched investigational drugs to be prepared in the event of a relapse. Her husband died February 12, 2021 with a rare and unexplained occurrence of liver cancer possibly unrelated to AML.

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