(Healthline) – In June, Amber Price, MD, founder and chief pediatrician at Willow Pediatrics and Lactation in Chicago, was contacted by a lactation consultant from the University of Chicago who asked if Price had donor breast milk available for purchase.
The consultant told Price she had a 5-day-old baby boy who had lost 17 percent of his birth weight and was unable to transfer milk from the breast since birth due to an undiagnosed tongue-tie.
Price was immediately concerned and asked if the baby had been evaluated by a physician.
The lactation consultant said the baby had been seen earlier in the day by a nurse practitioner at an outpatient clinic who sent the family to lactation.
Price asked to speak to the mother and told her she wanted to examine the baby for no charge before providing them with any breast milk.
The family agreed. Immediately upon seeing the baby, Price said it was clear that he was severely dehydrated and in grave danger.
“The baby had numerous signs of dehydration, including a sunken fontanel — the soft spot on top of the head — dry lips, a weak cry with no production of tears, lethargy/poor tone, poor skin turgor, and uric acid crystals in the diaper,” Price told Healthline.
Price phoned the nurse practitioner who had seen the baby to discuss her clinical assessment.
“I asked her what findings in a medical history and physical exam would be concerning for dehydration in a 5-day-old exclusively breastfed baby, but she was unable to articulate a medically correct answer,” Price said.
“I also requested to speak with her supervising physician but was told that he was unavailable. I later found out that he was on vacation at the time of this incident,” she added.
When the test Price ordered showed a dangerously high sodium level as well as numerous other electrolyte abnormalities, Price phoned the family to let them know their baby needed to be admitted into the hospital as soon as possible for treatment.
“The baby was near death and was misdiagnosed by the nurse practitioner,” Price said. “This was wrong on so many levels. Nurse practitioners are literally practicing medicine without a medical license, and nothing is being done about them.”
Price adds, though, that she knows “many nurse practitioners that are very capable when they work within their scope of practice.”
The baby, Travis Love, is now fully recovered. The baby’s mother, Lenora Love, told Healthline she’s deeply grateful that Price stepped in.
“Dr. Price saved my baby’s life,” Love said. “Before I met Dr. Price, we had no clue what was going on with our baby. Being in the hospital was a scary and emotional experience for me and my husband. This experience makes me think about how some of these nurses act, as if they are doctors.”