SACRAMENTO, CA (KTXL/CNN) - The mother of a terminally ill 7-year-old says she was horrified to learn her son had been exposed to measles while at the hospital because of what she calls the “irresponsible decision” to not vaccinate a child.
Rayna Bell took her 7-year-old son Jackson Souza to the University of California Davis Medical Center on March 17 after he began having seizures.
Jackson, who was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis at 4 months old, has around 100 small tumors and a few very large ones on his brain. He has been in and out of hospitals since he was an infant.
"It’s terminal, and he will succumb to his disease at some point," Bell said.
Days after the two arrived at the hospital, doctors told Bell that during his stay, Jackson had been exposed to measles.
"When I found out, I felt mortified,” Bell said. “My son's already terminal. I don’t have any area to risk any potential anything with him because I’m just walking around him with a plastic bubble, just trying to keep him here as long as I can."
Bell claims doctors told her the source of the disease was a child whose parents had not vaccinated her. She had caught the measles while overseas.
Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Health, says Jackson and the girl were seen in the same emergency department room.
"It was less than an hour of separation between them, so, there was potentially still measles virus in the air,” Blumberg said.
At the time Jackson was put in the room, it was not yet known the girl had measles, according to Blumberg. In fact, he says it’s hard for most doctors to identify the disease because it’s so rare. It took days for doctors to confirm the young girl’s diagnosis.
Blumberg says even though Jackson was exposed, he does not believe the boy has measles. However, Jackson’s mother says she’s seen all the symptoms, and the 7-year-old had to be quarantined at the hospital for 18 days.
Bell feels what she deems the negligence of other parents may shorten her son’s already delicate life.
“People making irresponsible decisions for their family and their child need to really, really look and see how that could affect other people because I still could lose my son,” she said.