OREGON: Parents Won’t Vaccinate Their Son After First Tetanus Case In 30 Years Nearly Killed Him, $811K Bill

The Daily Beast reports:

An unvaccinated Oregon boy became the first person in over 30 years to contract the deadly tetanus infection in the state. The 6-year-old boy was playing on a farm when he cut his head, according to a case report by the CDC. His parents cleaned and stitched the wound at home, but a week later, he arrived at a hospital exhibiting advanced symptoms of tetanus, a serious bacterial infection that causes involuntary muscle spasms, difficulty breathing, lockjaw, and arching of the neck and back.

The Washington Post reports:

In all, the boy’s medical charges in the hospital amounted to $811,929 — which did not include the cost of being airlifted to the hospital or of inpatient rehabilitation, according to the CDC. It’s unclear from the report who covered his hospital expenses.

It took about a month after his rehab for the boy to return to “normal activities” such as running and bicycling, the report added. “The patient was in the intensive care unit, in critical condition, for over six weeks,” Dr. Judith Guzman-Cottrill said. “The complex and prolonged care led to the high treatment cost.”

In contrast, the cost of one DTaP dose is somewhere around $24-$30 a dose, and this illness could have been prevented with five doses of DTaP vaccine. Notably, physicians counseled the boy’s family to bring the child up to date on all of his vaccinations, as well as receive a follow-up dose of the DTaP vaccine. His family said no.