A 6-year-old California boy has died after a bout with meningitis, leaving his grief-stricken and stunned family with unanswered questions about how it could have happened.
Jayden Brizuela, an only child, died on Tuesday, but he had been sick since last month, his family told KRON 4 TV.
The boy wasn't diagnosed with bacterial meningitis until last week.
"He had a cold and he was taken to a pediatrician, and they just prescribed some medication," the boy's aunt, Monica Pinheiro Aguilar, told KRON. He was also in and out of urgent care facilities and emergency rooms before he was correctly diagnosed
The child seemed to get better, then would relapse, Aguilar said. This went on for several weeks, until he was finally diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, a potentially deadly infection.
The family told the news outlet they can't understand why it took so long and so many medical professionals to correctly identify the illness.
"There should be some type of protocol in hospitals, urgent cares, anywhere," Aguilar told KRON. "If you take a child in that many times and the child is screaming that they are in pain, you do blood work, you prescribe then some type of medication. You don't just let them walk out and just give them Tylenol or Motrin."
Aguilar said the family feels like the medical system has failed them.
There are no other known cases in San Jose, where the family lives, according to county health officials, so it’s unclear how the boy contracted the illness.
More than 4,000 cases of bacterial meningitis are diagnosed every year, causing an average 500 deaths a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A GoFundMe page is raising money for the family’s medical bills and funeral costs.
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Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution