Like many toddlers, Malachi Hackworth is an active 2-year-old.
That means he takes a tumble from time to time.
But a simple fall on an outdoor basketball court in December changed everything.
Kristin Hackworth says her husband made a jump shot and when he was coming down, Malachi darted behind him, accidentally being knocked over.
“He was kind of in a daze, his eyes were blankly staring,” Hackworth recalled.
She says Malachi started showing some scary signs; the toddler threw up and stopped responding to his parents.
At that point, the Hackworths knew something was terribly wrong.
“It was very scary because it seemed like we were losing him, when we got to Wolfson Children’s they told us he had stopped breathing,” Hackworth added.
Dr. Thomas Nakagawa was one of the doctors who treated Malachi for a suspected trauma-induced seizure.
“We do see a lot of head injuries, it’s the most common injury in children under two years of age,” Nakagawa said, adding, “the most common cause of death – traumatic brain injuries in children under a year of age.”
“With traumatic head injuries, though, the biggest concern is a buildup of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream, which occurs when a child stops breathing but the heart continues beating,” Robert Letton, Jr., MD, surgeon-in-chief at Wolfson Children’s Hospital said. “This can affect blood flow to the brain and can cause death when left untreated. That’s why it was so important to make sure he got on the ventilator, so he continued breathing.”
In critical condition, the toddler was fighting for his life.
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Hackworth says had she and her husband not responded immediately, they could’ve lost Malachi.
“It definitely could’ve been a bad tragedy had we not taken him into the hospital as soon as we did, he stopped breathing, if we waited five minutes longer it could’ve been a different outcome,” Hackworth said.
The Wolfson Children’s Pediatric trauma team put Malachi on a ventilator to help with breathing.
“What I could do at that moment which was to pray, but it was very scary because it just seemed like we were losing him,” Hackworth recounted.
Her prayers were then answered — A CT scan showed Malachi didn’t have a brain bleed or a skull fracture; he was soon on the mend.
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Hackworth wants other parents to know just how easily tragedy can strike.
“Pay attention to the abnormal things your child is doing after a fall,” she said.
Hackworth says she can now rest easy, knowing Malachi is back to his normal bubbly self.
Click here for Mayo Clinic’s effects of a concussion in children.
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