Corona family recounts son's hospital visit for appendicitis amid COVID fears

"Being that Nolan's immunocompromised, that kind of added a whole other layer of worry as a parent," his mother said.
CORONA, Calif. (KABC) -- Nearly three months before graduating, 17-year-old Corona resident Nolan Torres had a stomach ache that just kept getting worse.

It led his mom Kris Torres to call CHOC Children's hospital's health hotline, where a doctor ended up evaluating him through telehealth.

"She was able to observe him and see him through technology through the video and see exactly where it as pressing and what his reaction was," said Torres.

"He really clearly had some pain in an area along with his symptoms that I really wanted to get him into the hospital," said Dr. Lori Openshaw, a physician within the CHOC primary care network.

Openshaw believed it was appendicitis and knew he would need to go in for surgery.

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"Being that Nolan's immunocompromised, that kind of added a whole other layer of worry as a parent," Torres said.

But they decided to go, trusting that CHOC had taken every precaution possible to keep everyone safe.

"Although it may be scary, especially during a pandemic where everything, everyone's going around all crazy and all these huge precautions are being taken, that you just gotta trust that the doctors are gonna be there and they know what they're doing," said Nolan Torres, who has been to CHOC Children's a number of times throughout his life.

Less than 48 hours later, he went through surgery and was back home recovering.

"Had mom waited, he could have had a ruptured appendix, which can be life-threatening," said Openshaw.

For the Torres family, that's what put everything into perspective.

"Life happens, even during a pandemic, and we need to take care of our children. And we need to partner with the health care providers that are willing to do everything they can to protect them," said Torres.

Not just during emergencies. Openshaw says wellness checkups and immunizations are also key.

"Those wellness appointments are really important because if you miss out on some of those and miss out on some of those vaccines, we could be looking at patients starting to create outbreaks and other things that might be even more devastating to children, things like measles," said Openshaw.

The Torres family is grateful they made the right choice for something serious.

"To know that things could have been a lot different and I may not have seen him walking across that stage if we hadn't taken those steps," said Torres.

CHOC nurses are available 24/7 to answer questions through the hotline (844) GET-CHOC.
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