A New York writer is crediting Facebook for saving her son's life.
Deborah Copaken Kogan, an essayist and author, told Slate that by posting photos of her ailing son on the social networking site, she crowd-sourced the correct diagnosis: Kawasaki disease.
Back in May, the author began by taking a photo of herself and her toddler son, Leo, who had come down with a fever.
She posted the photo to Facebook with the caption "Nothing says Happy Mother's Day quite like a Sunday morning at the pediatrician's."
Leo's throat was red and he had a fever ? but his strep test came back negative. The pediatrician administered an antibiotic, just to be sure.
But the next day, he was worse.
Kogan wrote on Facebook about her son's worsening fever, rash and then posted photos of his red, swollen face.
"Swelling worse," she wrote, "especially eyes and chin. Fever still crazy high. Poor baby."
Her friends and family weighed in ? many of who were doctors and mothers themselves.
The pediatrician then diagnosed scarlet fever ? but one of Kogan's Facebook friends had seen the photo and had a sinking feeling.
Her "friend" (who also happened to be a real-live friend) picked up the phone and called Kogan and told her that her son's symptoms were similar to her son's, who had been diagnosed with Kawasaki disease, which causes inflammation of blood vessels.
This rare condition, most common in children, can cause permanent damage the longer it goes untreated.
Kogan didn't want to seem like an alarmist ? but when the test for scarlet fever came back negative, she decided to take her son to hospital, where he was "treated, released, retreated, and rereleased" for Kawasaki disease and subsequent liver damage.
She said that her son still has an enlarged heart and will likely have to get echocardiograms for the rest of his life.
Kogan wrote that she is forever grateful.
"Facebook transformed from my son's inadvertent lifesaver to the most valuable tool in my arsenal: to keep family and friends abreast of his ever-mutating condition without having to steal time and emotional energy away from him," she said. "And to feel connected to the human race while living, breathing, eating and sleeping in the isolating, fluorescent-lit bubble of a children's hospital ward, where any potential humans I might have "friended" on our floor were too distraught over the fates of their own children to make any room in their hearts for strangers."
She knows that she will always worry about her son's condition.
"But thanks to my Facebook friends and their continuing support, I do not feel so alone," she wrote.
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