Bonne-Terre mother nearly loses child to lead poisoning

BONNE TERRE / ST. LOUIS, Missouri — On Tuesday, a Bonne Terre mother worried if her three-year-old would survive a day after a failed home inspection and severe case of lead exposure nearly killed him, leaving his 2-year-old sister in critical condition.

The situation got worse when the hospital didn’t have the life-saving treatment it needed on standby.

Kacie Bullard and her son spent days in a corner room at St. Louis Children’s Hospital after a diagnosis no one expected.

“When they told me every hour that he would not take the medication. It could get worse at any moment,” she said.

Bullard had just moved back to the area months ago with her three children and great-grandmother.

“I went to the St. Genevieve Health Department to register for WIC and they do a hemoglobin test,” she said.

Young Oliver and his sister were diagnosed with lead toxicity well above average. The average is between 0.5 and 3.5 micrograms. Oliver’s lead level was back to almost 50 micrograms.

“Without the medication he’s taking, he couldn’t walk because he could die from it for hours, days. The scariest thing I’ve ever been through,” Bullard said.

The problem was that medicines were not readily available and they stayed in the hospital for days. Bullard was concerned if her son would survive treatment.

“The toxicologist claimed that this is no longer very common and that the drug is so rare that it is not normally available from an outside pharmacy… It has to be ordered,” she said.

While the hospital could not comment on drug supplies, it came as a shock to Bullard, given that Missouri’s lead poisoning levels are well above average compared to other states.

“I would never have bought this house if I had known that,” she said. “Every wall, every window, the entire floor, the lead water pipes – almost everything has to be completely gutted.”

Bullard is forced to stay at a motel until these issues are resolved. She now worries about how to pay thousands in unexpected medical and housing costs. Bonne-Terre mother nearly loses child to lead poisoning

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