It is a sadly familiar story: the parent moves the child, the child gets bumped/dropped, the child complains that something hurts (but doesn't really hurt so badly that a broken bone is suspected), and everyone goes on about their business.
Then, the child may become sleepier than usual, may start to act a little odd, and slowly develops difficulty breathing. He then becomes more confused, disoriented, agitated and has more trouble breathing until the parents realize suddenly that there is a crisis.
The symptoms of FES
Fat embolism syndrome develops quickly, and the consequences are serious and life threatening. Pneumonia and heart failure can often cause some of these same symptoms (sleepiness, shortness of breath) to develop, but symptoms with those two underlying disorders generally develop slowly. Symptoms due to fat embolism do not – the symptoms often develop, and become life threatening, in just a few hours.
If your child falls, is bumped or dropped, and develops these symptoms:
If it turns out not to be Fat Embolism Syndrome, that’s ok. It’s much better to suspect fat embolism and find pneumonia than the other way around.
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