Saturday, 21 April 2012


Allegra was prescribed and administered Vancomycin (Antibiotic) on Monday 30th January 2012, this was when Allegra was neutropenic after her first cycle of chemotherapy.  She had spiked in a temperature(40+) earlier on the 23rd January and was administered 2 types of antibiotics, Tazocin and Amikacin.
While on these antibiotics my little Allegra spiked in another temperature on Sunday 29th January, so was administered Vancomycin.  We were not informed of any repercussions of this antibiotic other than the usual side effects, diarrhoea, nausea, stomache pain and cramps.  I research all of Allegra's medicines and did not come across VRE (Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci), while reading about another antibiotic prescribed to Allegra.

We moved to room 214 on the 24th February 2012, from room 213, which is a room separated and has its own air control.  This is a very protected room from the rest of the ward.
On the doctors rounds in the afternoon as we were settling into our new room next door with the same view, I was updated with Allegra's progress that we had nearly completed cycle 2 of chemotherapy and that Allegra was doing well with it, TPN was to begin as Allegra was nutrition deficient AND that she had developed VRE.  I had no idea what this is and found it very difficult to understand and still do.  I will do my best to explain it to you readers and will quote some facts from the information sheet I was handed.

VRE is Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci
Enterococci are germs that normally live in the bowel/gut - they are part of everyone's body.
They can cause infections in people with lower immunity, if they move from the bowel/gut to another part of the body.
Vancomycin is an antibiotic.
Sometimes enterococci become resistant to Vancomycin.
This means that the antibiotic Vancomycin cannot kill the enterococci if they do move out of the bowel and cause infection.
When this happens the enterococci are known as Vancomycin Resistant.
When your child is well, the other normal flora in the bowel/gut helps to prevent the VRE from being excreted.
VRE may be transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces.  For this reason we are not to share toys, magazines or anything else with the other families in Oncology where there are immune deficient patients.
Whenever a case of VRE is identified, it is routine to isolate the child in their room when they are on the ward to limit the spread of the organism.

I was devastated to hear this shocking information.  It's absolutely unfair and I didn't totally understand it.  I only took in that, "we are not to leave our room and again Allegra was so unfortunate to get this.  Purely unlucky".
I broke down and asked Allegra's Oncologist, Doctor and Co-ordinator to leave, leave us alone, I am sick of them coming around giving us bad news, just go!!!!!!!
I began researching.  It all became so  contradictory and still is.
I have had meetings,stand-offs, arguments, been spoken to and at times been treated poorly and it has been totally unacceptable.  I feel as though Allegra has been victimised and discriminated against.  My baby came in here with Leukaemia and acquired VRE, Mucor, Adenovirus.  All this while in a protected, air controlled environment.  It truly makes me wonder.

So in a nutshell, if an immune deficient kiddie were to come into contact with Allegra's poo they could develop VRE themselves.

1 comment:

  1. Jac, keep fighting the good fight... your willingness to question is what keeps you strong in undertstanding each step of Allegra's recovery. As frustrating as it is, you have empowered yourself and equipped yourself with being present for all the unexpected diagnosis's. My respect for you has and will always be your strength & love for Allegra... love to you both, Lil x