Two-Year-Old Boy Dies After Five Misdiagnosis

September 16, 2016
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About a month has passed since a two- year-old boy, Grayson Dunham, has died after what was thought to be a stomach flu.

“Our sweet, handsome, smart, outgoing, little boy was taken from us too soon for reasons we will never understand,” the 25-year-old Indiana mom, who’s pregnant with her second child, wrote on Facebook shortly after her firstborn’s death.

His mother, Kayla Dunham, first noticed that something was wrong with her little boy when he had started to suffer from diarrhea and began to vomit.

The family had recently visited a petting zoo, state fair and restaurant. But doctors couldn’t pinpoint a cause, despite a battery of tests that included chest and stomach X-rays and ultrasounds.

They reportedly first said it was the stomach flu. Then they said it seemed his intestines had folded over themselves. An appendix problem was also considered to be the culprit.

All the while, the boy’s symptoms worsened and his pain grew.

“We were misdiagnosed five times before they said, ‘yes this is HUS,’” Dunham said

What is HUS?

Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is sometimes referred to as “Hamburger Disease,” according to The Kidney Foundation of Canada.

“It poses a substantial threat to Canadian children as one of the leading causes of both acute and chronic kidney failure,” the organization warns on its site.

HUS often follows a gastrointestinal illness caused by a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria.

While most strains of E. coli are pretty harmless — and can even be found in our guts, for instance — the 0157:H7 strain is known to cause permanent damage to kidneys and the liver.

It was responsible for the tragic outbreak in Walkerton, Ont., in 2000, in which 2,500 people fell ill and seven died. That outbreak was caused by run-off from farm fields that made its way into the water supply.

Because it’s a bacteria that lives in guts, E. coli usually signals the presence of fecal contamination of some sort.

Although everyone is susceptible to E. coli infection, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, the elderly and young children are most at risk for developing serious complications from it.

(You can find more information on safe cooking practices that can help prevent HUS here.)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States says antibiotics shouldn’t be used to treat these infections because they may increase the risk of HUS. The preferred treatment is rehydration…

While doctors did try to rehydrate her son, Dunham says that it appears to have been too little and too late.

As he awaited surgery and dialysis, Grayson’s heart seemingly gave out on him. More than 20 doctors reportedly performed CPR on him for almost 2 hours in a desperate effort to save him.

Dunham took to Facebook to share this sad story. In her post, she said “Our sweet, handsome, smart, outgoing, little boy was taken from us too soon for reasons we will never understand” 


Dunham is currently expecting her second child, which is due in January.

 She shared her story in the hopes of enlightening other parents and also made a plea:

“I am sharing my story with you all in hopes that as parents you stand up for your children and advocate for them.

Never ever give up on them. We asked more questions than the doctors were probably prepared for.”


  1. Pam Saragosa

    September 17, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    My heart goes out to this childs family Aa a grandma to a precious 2 year old boy, I cant even begin to imagine how the family is feeling. May. God bless you all and again, Im very sorry for you loss.

  2. Netra Biggus

    September 18, 2016 at 12:20 am

    Awww he’s so adorable, you’ve gotten your wings sweetie. Go on and fly high. Watch over your mommy & daddy and your sibling.. R.I.H cutie pie. Sorry for loss Dunham Family

  3. Jay

    September 18, 2016 at 1:08 am

    He is a beautiful angel…GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

  4. Gail

    September 18, 2016 at 1:39 am

    My son was about 2 when he contracted HUS. It was misdiagnosed a few times until a resident who was doing their rural rotation. We spent 3 1/2 weeks at Hopkins and he progressively was slipping away and there was nothing I could do. They told me to start making arrangements for his death. I was 22 and scared to death, single mom and alone. I brought his older sibling down finally to say goodbye. They were 2 years apart and extremely close. The power of sibling bond was amazing. He almost immediately began to regain his strength. The medical team said it truly was a miracle. He had some kidney damage. He is now 23. I completely understand your helplessness, heartbreak, and watching your baby go through the disease process. Other children contracted it at a nearby carnival not long after my son, and since it was fresh in everyone minds they diagnosed it quicker. It is not a well known diagnosis. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss and pray your heart and soul finds some comfort.

  5. Nora

    September 18, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    God has gained another Angel. Gone. But never forgotten. I send my Condolences to the Dunham family. R.I.P little man. Xoxoxoxo

  6. Royalbird

    November 2, 2016 at 3:35 am

    The plural for misdiagnosis is misdiagnoses. Terribly tragic story though.

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