As Seen in Equipped for Care – From Critical to Care Free

Lauren Fetzer Can Breathe Again
Thanks to the care she received at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital

For two years, eight-year-old Lauren Fetzer had been suffering from breathing problems. “Every two weeks, she’d get a virus or a cold,” said her mother, Jacqueline. “She’d be put on steroids, which briefly cleared her lungs, but another week would go by and she’d be sick again.”

She was in and out of hospitals and saw a number of specialists, but the problems continued. In fact, Lauren’s condition was so bad that she had to repeat kindergarten because of all the school she missed.

In September, Lauren had a severe breathing attack. She was taken to Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, where pediatrician Elsa Fernandez, M.D., determined that Lauren should be admitted. Lauren was quickly taken to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

“They jumped on it right away,” said Jaqueline. “They immediately made me feel comfortable that Lauren was in good hands.”
Kenneth Kim, M.D., and Zacharia Reda, M.D., both pediatric critical care and pulmonology specialists, took charge of Lauren’s case. Her breathing was so poor that she required a ventilator for lifeattack. She was taken to Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, where pediatrician Elsa Fernandez, M.D., determined that Lauren should be admitted. Lauren was quickly taken to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. “They jumped on it right away,” said Jaqueline. “They immediately made me feel comfortable that Lauren was in good hands.”

Kenneth Kim, M.D., and Zacharia Reda, M.D., both pediatric critical care and pulmonology specialists, took charge of Lauren’s case. Her breathing was so poor that she required a ventilator for life support. The physicians performed an extensive workup, including a bronchoscopy, a procedure used to look inside the lungs.

Dr. Reda was surprised by the amount and thickness of the mucus in Lauren’s lungs. He began to suspect that Lauren had an unusual condition called pulmonary alveolar proteinosis. This rare lung disease involves a buildup of grainy material in the air sacs of the lungs. The buildup interferes with the lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen, which leads to breathing difficulties. In severe cases, respiratory failure can occur.

Although alveolar proteinosis occurs in fewer than four people out of one million, there wasn’t time to wait for a confirmation of the diagnosis. Dr. Reda began treatment consisting of lung lavage, using salt water to “wash” out the excess mucus.
The treatment helped, and Lauren was able to come off life support. When her test results came back, they confirmed Dr. Reda’s suspicions.

Four days after her release from Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, Lauren was able to return to school. “She’s been there ever since,” says Jacqueline, who reports that Lauren rides her bike to school and has taken up gymnastics.
Her mother marvels at the change in her daughter. “This has been a long journey. We saw a chain of doctors and allergists. She had CAT scans and X-rays, but they still didn’t know what was causing it. Dr. Reda was very proactive. He and the team at Fountain Valley made all the difference in Lauren’s life.”

Sophisticated technology, expert care and sensitivity are hallmarks of Orange County Institute for Pediatrics at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center. The Institute includes a 22-bed Pediatric Unit and an 11-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and benefits from the expertise of pediatric subspecialists from an array of disciplines.