Early Diagnosis: Cael’s Story


Children may experience fevers frequently throughout early childhood, but when they spike a high fever it can make any parent worry.

In October 2018, Allouez residents Amy and her husband, Lucas, experienced this worry when their six-year-old son, Cael, came down with a mysterious high fever. “Cael had a high fever along with varying symptoms from red eyes and a rash to feeling lethargic,” recalls Amy. Doctors initially diagnosed Cael with a viral infection, but when the symptoms continued several days later, Amy and Lucas knew something was seriously wrong. They took the short drive to bring Cael to the Emergency Department at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital.

Once at the hospital and with the help of a Child Life Specialist, Cael was prepped and provided games and books for distraction and comfort during an IV placement. “Child Life is amazing. The way she explained the IV placement to Cael in a manner he could understand helped him know what was going to happen. Having his questions answered put everyone at ease. She was incredible and made a very stressful situation less stressful,” added Amy.

With the IV in place, Cael was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for further testing and was later diagnosed with Kawasaki disease, a rare inflammatory condition in which the blood vessels throughout the body become inflamed, which can damage the coronary arteries in the heart. “We had never heard of Kawasaki disease before that day in the PICU, but his care team helped us understand what he was experiencing and reassured us that because we caught it early, the potentially severe symptoms were lessened,” said Amy.

With a confirmed diagnosis, Cael’s treatment included an anti-inflammatory infusion, called intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), to help lower the inflammation and the risk of coronary artery problems. “We were amazed at how the IVIG helped lessen his symptoms. He was sitting up, talking with us and happily building with Legos again,” recalls Amy.

Amy and Lucas found comfort in the quality care that not only Cael received close to home, but in how the staff took care of them during this difficult time. “During the three days we were in the hospital, we appreciated how they took a family approach and looked out for all of us. As parents, we had so much running through our minds and it was reassuring to know we could trust them,” said Amy. She recalls Cael saying it best with, “Thank you for helping me not be scared.”

Today, Cael is a healthy six-year-old who enjoys Legos, dinosaurs, swimming, tee-ball and playing pretend with his younger sister, Evelyn. Since he was diagnosed and treated early, Cael didn’t have any problems with his heart. Cael receives all of his follow up care right here in Green Bay as he continues to see his Prevea Pediatrician, Dr. Dale Rustad, and has regular blood and heart checks with Prevea Pediatric Cardiologist, Dr. Beth Medford.

As the only children’s hospital in Green Bay, HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital is committed to the exceptional care of children, like Cael, and to the fight against the childhood illnesses and injuries.  As part of a nonprofit, Catholic-based health care system, HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital provides care to all who need it – regardless of their ability to pay.  You can help. Join the Fight and donate today to a community fundraising campaign that will allow HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital to upgrade its facilities and expand spaces specifically designed for children.

Media Contacts

Angela Deja
Public Relations Coordinator angela.deja@hshs.org
(920) 272-3360

Dana Jermstad
Senior Communications and Public Relations Manager dana.jermstad@hshs.org 
(920) 429-1752
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