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COVID Communications Blunder: False Positive Reportedly Keeps Mother from Newborn in Arizona Hospital

Childbirth is typically a joyous occasion, but things rarely go exactly as planned.

When situations like that arise, most people expect the hospital staff to reduce the stressors in a moment of crisis, not contribute to them.

For Arizona residents Tiffany and Nathan Miller, however, this was not the case.

According to a Facebook post from Miller on Tuesday, her son Jaxson Wyatt was born on April 14 after a “great labor and delivery!” As Miller revealed later in the post, the boy was born with a condition known as Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA).

As Children’s National reported, TGA is a congenital heart defect where the two arteries responsible for carrying blood from the heart to the lungs are reversed. As a result, babies born with this condition often have trouble breathing, and survival is unlikely unless proper treatment is administered.

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After spending “exactly 60 seconds” with her son after birth, the mother said that doctors took him away for further tests, which she expected. Later, the cardiologist who spoke with Miller once she had returned to her room said that Jaxson was “looking great” and his oxygen stats were reportedly in the nineties.

The fact that Jaxson’s saturation levels were that high was “[p]henomenal for a baby with TGA.”

Despite the good news, Miller said doctors informed her it was still necessary for Jaxson to be transported to Phoenix Children’s Hospital for further treatment. At the time, however, the cardiologist was not sure if the transport would take place that evening or if a helicopter would be necessary.

Posted by Tiffany Miller on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

“Shortly after, the nurse told me I tested positive for Covid,” Miller wrote. “I DO NOT HAVE COVID, I AM NOT SICK, I HAVEN’T BEEN EXPOSED TO ANYONE WITH COVID.”

“I had it back in December (but never tested for it),” she added. “They treated us different from then on.”

When she asked for more information about her son’s condition around 6 p.m., Miller claimed that she received “no response.”

“Finally, at almost 8pm we got a call from his doctor saying that Jaxson looked great and didn’t need any additional intervention or the bedside procedure to put a balloon in his heart like they thought they might need to do.”

Any relief Miller and her husband might have felt at the news, however, was short-lived. Without telling the parents, Miller said the hospital had already transferred Jaxson to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Posted by Tiffany Miller on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

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By the time Miller’s husband, Nathan, paid $200 for a rapid COVID test and joined Jaxson at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, she wrote the baby had “been alone without an advocate for almost 6 HOURS.”

“He was told that most likely if I got a Negative PCR Covid test than that would trump the rapid test and should be allowed at the hospital,” the mother wrote.

After checking out of the hospital, Miller said she spent $400 on a PCR test. Once she tested negative for COVID-19, Miller said she was allowed back to PCH, where she met her son for the first time since the delivery.

Should this be allowed to happen to new mothers?

“Within 10 min they had higher ups at PCH in our room and had brought SECURITY with them to notify us that THEY WOULD NOT ACCEPT MY NEGATIVE TEST,” she wrote.

“[A]nd I had to LEAVE THE HOSPITAL FOR 10 DAYS before I would be allowed back in to by with my baby. I was only able to HOLD JAXSON FOR 5 MIN BEFORE BEING KICKED OUT OF THE HOSPITAL FOR 10 DAYS.”

Posted by Tiffany Miller on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Miller went on to describe the emotional turmoil she experienced due to the hospital’s conduct. Unable to see Jaxson, the mother claimed that quarantining alone for ten days made her fall into a “DEEP POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION.”

Posted by Tiffany Miller on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Understandably, a hospital would desire to prevent a newborn from coming into contact with COVID-19, especially if the child suffers from a preexisting condition.

But parents need reassurances from hospital staff any time there is reason to fear for their baby’s well-being. The hospital’s failure to inform the parents about what was happening with their son or monitor Miller for the risk of postpartum depression was a major misstep.

Instead of transferring Jaxson without telling his parents, staff members should have communicated with Miller and her husband every step of the way to keep them informed and ease any anxieties associated with the separation.

The Phoenix Children’s Hospital did not immediately respond to The Western Journal’s request for comment.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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