A mother’s pictures on Facebook of her feverish four-year-old son allowed his rare and life-threatening illness, Kawasaki disease, to be identified, and ultimately saved his life.
Kawasaki disease mostly affects children of Japanese and Korean descent but can affect all ethnic groups and involves inflammation of the blood vessels in the arteries, especially the coronary arteries.
Initially detected with a fever and bloodshot eyes, the inflammation caused by the disease can cause an aneurism, which can lead to a heart attack, even in young children, that can cause death.
There is no specific test to indicate Kawasaki disease; pediatricians usually diagnose it based on the presence of all the symptoms involved.
Deborah Copaken Kogan’s son Leo’s condition had not improved after being diagnosed as strep, and Kogan posted another picture of the swelling that begun in Leo’s eyes and chin.
After many comments and questions from friends on Facebook, Kogan received a phone call from a former neighbor who had viewed the photos of Leo on Facebook.
The mother of a Kawasaki disease patient apologized for butting in, but insisted Kogan take Leo to the hospital at once. The Facebook user possibly saved Leo’s life with her phone call. Kogan took Leo to the hospital to learn that he did indeed have Kawasaki disease.
As a result of Kawasaki disease, Leo Kogan suffered from liver disease that will increase his chances of heart attack later in life, but as of today he is at least feeling much better.