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By Rampart Stonebridge, updated on September 13, 2023

5-year-old girl dead after being misdiagnosed with a cold by doctors

In a heart-wrenching event, five-year-old Cathy Kassis lost her life to an aggressive Strep A infection after a misdiagnosis of a common cold.

The medical community is always evolving, but every now and then, a tragic event serves as a poignant reminder that there is always room for improvement.

For the family of Cathy Kassis, a seemingly innocent diagnosis of a common cold escalated into a nightmare when it was revealed that the five-year-old was battling the aggressive Strep A bacteria.

Jasmine Worobez and her partner Justin Sutton, Cathy's stepfather, witnessed their young daughter's health decline rapidly. Just three days into her illness, Cathy lost her ability to speak. Despite the obvious signs of deterioration, the hospital only identified it as a viral infection.

Reliving the tragic moments

Justin Sutton described the terror of watching Cathy struggle to breathe. "It was similar to an asthma attack or watching someone with emphysema trying to breathe," he recalled.

Later events would prove more harrowing. Days after being discharged from the hospital, Cathy's condition worsened, leading her lips to turn blue as she drifted in and out of consciousness.

It was a race against time as the ambulance was called. Justin performed CPR on Cathy for 15 agonizing minutes while waiting for the paramedics. Sadly, the efforts were in vain as Cathy was pronounced dead at Westmead Children's Hospital.

Unveiling the unseen danger

The truth was unveiled when a simple throat swab at Westmead Children's Hospital detected Strep A as the cause of Cathy's death. The revelation was not only shocking but also highlighted a significant gap in early diagnosis.

Strep A bacteria are known to cause mild illnesses like sore throat, scarlet fever, and skin lesions. However, in rare cases, it can escalate into invasive strep A, which is known to claim the lives of 50,000 individuals worldwide each year.

The Pediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance (PAEDS) Network further added weight to the urgency of the situation. Their studies found that between July 2018 and December 2022, 280 pediatric patients were admitted to five prominent Australian pediatric hospitals due to the infection.

Alarmingly, three children in Australia, including Cathy, succumbed to complications arising from it, People reported. 

Cathy's legacy lives on

Despite the heartbreak, Cathy's family found solace in her legacy.

Cathy's selfless act of organ donation led to the salvation of three young children, all of whom are expected to make a full recovery, NDTV reported.

In an effort to prevent other families from experiencing a similar tragedy, Jasmine and Justin have been raising awareness about the dangers of Strep A. A GoFundMe page has also been set up to assist Cathy's family during this challenging time.

Lessons to learn from this tragedy

The Kassis family's ordeal shines a spotlight on several key lessons:

1. Never underestimate common symptoms: A sore throat or mild fever can sometimes be indicators of more serious conditions.
2. Trust your instincts: If you feel something is not right, especially with your child's health, seek a second opinion.
3. Be informed: Awareness about diseases and their symptoms can be crucial in early diagnosis and treatment.
4. Never blame the victim: While precautionary measures are essential, we must remember that unfortunate incidents can happen to anyone, and the onus should not be on the victim.

Why this story resonates with many

For many parents, Cathy's story is a harrowing reminder of the unpredictable nature of life. It showcases the importance of being vigilant about health and not taking any symptom lightly. Additionally, Cathy's legacy of organ donation highlights the value of life and the difference one can make even in death.

Moreover, the story serves as a reminder of the relentless efforts of medical professionals who often work tirelessly to save lives. While errors do occur, it's crucial to learn from them to ensure they aren't repeated.

Lastly, the strength exhibited by Cathy's family in raising awareness about Strep A in the wake of such a tragic loss is commendable. Their efforts may well save countless lives in the future.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.

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