BONNE TERRE, Mo. – On Tuesday, a Bonne Terre mother was left worrying if her 3-year-old would live another day after a failed home inspection and a severe case of lead exposure nearly killed him, and left his 2-year-old sister in critical condition.
Matters got worse when the hospital did not have the life-saving treatment needed on standby.
Kacie Bullard and her son spent days inside of a corner room at St. Louis Children’s Hospital after a diagnosis no one ever expected.
“When they told me he was on a hourly basis that he wasn’t on the medication. It can take the turn for the worse at any moment,” she said.
Bullard had moved back to the area just months ago with her three children and great grandmother.
“I went to the St. Genevieve Health Department to sign up for WIC, and they do a hemoglobin test,” she said.
Young Oliver and his sister were diagnosed well above the average for lead toxicity. The average sits between 0.5 and 3.5 micrograms. Oliver’s lead levels came back at nearly 50 micrograms.
“He couldn’t leave without the medication that he’s on because he was on hours, days of possibly dying from it. The scariest thing I’ve ever been through,” Bullard said.
The problem was, that medication wasn’t readily available, leaving them in the hospital for days on end. Bullard was concerned if her son would make it through treatment.
“The toxicologist claimed that it’s not a very common thing that happens anymore, and the medication so rare, no outside pharmacy usually has it… It has to be ordered,” she said.
While the hospital couldn’t comment on the supply of medicine, it came as a shock to Bullard, as lead intoxication levels in Missouri are well above average compared to other states.
“I would’ve never bought that house if I would’ve known,” she said. “Every wall, every window, all the soil, the lead water pipes—it almost all needs to be completely gutted.”
Bullard must stay in a motel until those problems are fixed. She’s now concerned with how she’ll pay thousands in unexpected medical costs and housing expenses.