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Lead Poisoning Prevention Month 2014: Ollie and the Goldfish Crackers in Wisconsin

Oliver’s story is so sad, yet amazing at the same time. James and Haven (dad and mom) shared with me how little Ollie used to look out of their apartment window down on the construction going on below. He would stand there for a long time, just watching the tractors, dump trucks and backhoes right from his own window! What a huge treat for a little boy, like “Bob the Builder” – but in REAL LIFE!

One day Ollie dumped his cup of goldfish crackers into the window trough – so he could eat them while watching the trucks. I am sure the window trough reminded him of the tray of his high chair… a compartment with edges that would hold his goldfish crackers right in front of him. His parents did not know that the trough was full of a potentially fatal amount of lead paint chips and dust!

– Tamara


October 16, 2014
Here is a recent note from dad – James, about little Ollie in Wisconsin. He posted this as a comment on a thread in our secret Facebook support group for parents of lead-poisoned children, in response to another parent’s question: “How soon did you get your child’s blood tested after initial blood test? Did you wait 3 months?”

James’ response: Our case was unbelievably “lucky” in that we caught his lead poisoning within 2 days. He had a test prior that showed very low levels, then a few days later his level had jumped to over 55 at our local WIC office, they told us “this is very likely a machine calibration problem BUT you need to get this checked now—as in right now“. I called the pediatrician, got an appointment an hour later for a venous blood draw, we went home, and about 15 minutes after we got home, I got a call from a very stern nurse telling me I needed to take him directly to St. Mary’s in Madison, “NOW!” I asked if we could pack and come a little later, she told me “I want you to take your son, put him in his car seat and run every red light until you’re in our parking lot, right now, literally right now, our team is preparing for your arrival!” As soon as the nurse hung up, I started sobbing, and we drove the 35 miles as fast as possible, they were waiting for us at the ER entrance, got him in to an x-ray, and the little flakes of lead paint were lighting up like Christmas lights on his x-ray.

I asked James if I could share this comment as a glimpse into their story, and I hope he will add more to his story soon.  Thank you, James.

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