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South Dakota 2-year-old waits in Twin Cities for liver transplant

After repeated visits to doctors in South Dakota, 2-year-old Baelyn was sent to the Twin Cities where her parents learned she had unexplained, severe hepatitis.

MINNEAPOLIS — Kelsea Schwab never imagined she'd be sitting in the Twin Cities, hundreds of miles away from her home.

Her 2-year-old daughter, Baelyn, left fighting for her life. 

"The Friday before, Baelyn had what we thought was an allergic reaction, we don't know still, but we had taken her into the doctor, and they gave her Epinephrine and that was the start of everything and we were concerned about how she reacted to it," said Schwab.

After repeated visits to the doctor in South Dakota, Schwab found out something was wrong with her daughter's liver.

She was immediately dispatched for a transfer to Masonic Children's Hospital in the Twin Cities.

"What we found out from there, was her doctor sent it here to be reviewed and a few hours later, we got a call saying she needed to be here as soon as possible," said Schwab.

Since then, Schwab and her family have spent days at the hospital, waiting for answers.

"We don't know what caused it; when it started. Do I need to get my other kid tested?" she said.

Schwab's 2-year-old daughter is one of two documented cases at M Health Fairview of unexplained, severe hepatitis in children.

Symptoms include fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, joint pain and jaundice — something Schwab noticed in her daughter.

"Darkening of the urine, dark yellow, poop almost looks white, and yellow of the eyes," said Schwab.

Recently, the CDC issued a nationwide health alert.

Dr. Heli Bhatt, with M Health Fairview, says it's unusual to see this disease in healthy children and parents should contact their doctor with concerns.

"Checking for liver disease is a simple blood test, which is cheap, has fast turnaround and it's something you can ask your pediatrician," said Dr. Bhatt.

Baeyln's family says they're now awaiting treatments, including the option of a liver transplant. 

"She is on a list, what we are understanding, if one becomes available today, they would take it," said Baelyn's grandmother, Lyrita Wilkie.

Schwab is looking to her loved ones.

"We have a 4-year-old daughter at home, too, and my husband is a farmer, and just getting up and leaving is difficult," said Schwab.

She's praying her daughter can continue her fight on the road to recovery ahead.

The family says they will be staying in town until Baelyn is healthy. 

To support the family during this time, visit the GoFundMe link here

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