TORONTO —; An Oshawa hospital is reviewing its ER practices and the way it communicates with patients after two Ontario mothers took to social media to express their outrage over the alleged misdiagnoses of their children.
Kathryn McKissock, of Courtice, Ont., started a Facebook group with Ajax, Ont. mom Christina Smith after the two shared similar stories about frightening situations involving their young daughters.
McKissock said her six-year-old daughter Jordan became ill with the flu in early February and she was sleeping all day, had a fever of more than 101 F, would not eat and a rash broke out all over her body. She took her daughter to Lakeridge Health Oshawa where she said doctors prescribed Jordan antibiotics and sent her home.
READ MORE: 6-year-old diagnosed with Kawasaki disease after mother alleges hospital misdiagnosis
But 10 days later, the antibiotics did nothing, and McKissock said Jordan was back at the hospital with a persistent fever and deteriorating health.
After a few visits, McKissock alleged the hospital simply brushed it off telling her there was nothing more they could do for her daughter.
Late last month, Jordan was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease at the Hospital for Sick Children, along with a number of other infections.
WATCH: 6-year-old admitted to SickKids with severe infections, mother alleges improper diagnosis
Kawasaki disease is common in children under the age of five. How it is contracted is unknown, and if it is not treated within the first 10 days of onset, it can cause damage to the child’s arteries and heart.
Christina and Michael Smith told Global News about a similarly scary situation involving their two-year-old daughter Katie, who accidentally swallowed a button battery the size of a nickel.
They said doctors at Lakeridge Health Oshawa, in addition to numerous other hospitals, checked her throat, airways, and ears, but found no signs of an infection.
READ MORE: Button battery removed from Toronto-area girl’s throat after being lodged for 4 days
However Katie’s symptoms persisted – she was not able to eat, could not swallow, had a distinctive odour to her breath, and was very lethargic.
After a number of doctor visits and a great deal of persistence, an X-ray was finally performed and it was determined the battery had been in Katie’s esophagus for four days and had burned through the outer lining of her esophagus. She was immediately rushed to Sick Kids hospital to have it removed.
The two mothers took to Facebook to raise concerns about Lakeridge Health Oshawa’s response to their children’s medical issues, which led to more than 1,500 members joining and raising concerns in a matter of weeks.
WATCH: 2-year-old rushed to Sick Kids Hospital after she swallows button battery
“We basically started the group because I think a lot of people wanted to be heard,” McKissock told Global News Thursday.
“That’s what the hope was for, to get a change, and it looks like we might have gotten one. And even if we didn’t get that, it was a place for people to come and share stories and get support and feel heard.”
The hospital announced Friday it was appointing an expert panel to review the “patient experience” at the ER, in addition to the way the hospital “listens to and acts on patient concerns.”
READ MORE: Questions arise after button battery removed from Toronto-area girl’s throat
“While there is this activity on Facebook and social media, knowing how to respond to that is part of what we’re learning,” said Tom McHugh, executive vice president at Lakeridge Health, adding the hospital is looking to use social media, patient feedback and communication to better serve patients.
“So we’re hoping it’s a three-month process and we’re just in the process of looking for national experts in each of these three areas. So what we’ll do is bring each of those three experts together with our own team here at the hospital with patient and family experience advisers.”
WATCH: Questions arise after Ajax girl has button battery lodged in esophagus
McHugh said the hospital hopes to be able to review expert findings regarding patients experience by June.
“I’m a little skeptical but I’m really happy that at least we’ve got some attention on this I mean how many people have had to go through so much? I think it shouldn’t have taken what our daughters had to go through to get this attention on it,” said McKissock.
“There hasn’t really been a response until now, until we made enough noise and two moms got together and made a change. So I’m happy that they are starting to make some changes, I’m a little skeptical how it will go.”
With files from Mark McAllister and Angie Seth