WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Hayden Hairston will forever be 11 years old after a severe asthma attack caused him to lose the ability to breathe while he celebrated the first day of Spring Break.
“I just heard a screech. It was kind of a muffled ‘mom’,” Hayden’s mother Ashley recalled to FOX8 of the moment on April 11 when her son stopped breathing for the last time.
The fifth-grade Winston-Salem student was diagnosed with asthma-related issues when he was three years old after he suffered multiple asthma attacks.
“It was a wheeze, and you could tell that he was having issues breathing. If you looked at his chest, you could tell he was struggling,” Ashley said.
With those moments, Ashley and Hayden created with their doctor an Asthma Action Plan to act in the event of breathing issues.
Novant Health Complex Disease navigator Alyssa Dittner said that asthma attacks can turn dangerous, especially for young children whose lungs have not fully developed.
“It is something that can turn very severe very quickly. And if you have a severe asthma attack once, you’re more likely to get it again,” Dittner said.
On the first day of his Spring Break, Hayden became short of breath and experienced tightness in his chest.
His mother activated their AAP with two treatments of breathing medication.
Before his third treatment, Hayden told his mother he felt fine. However, 30 minutes later, he began to have difficulty breathing again.
“I heard him call for me,” Ashley said. “Hayden was crouched over the sink, and he’s saying ‘mom, I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.’ I’m like, ‘OK. Let me get him to the bed and start his breathing treatment, and then we’ll go to Brenner’s.’ He then just started to slide down the bed. I knew his airways were restricted at that point.”
Ashley, who is CPR certified, began giving her son chest compressions and breaths. Unfortunately, her son’s chest did not rise, which signaled that his airwaves were close to completely closed.
By the time paramedics arrived, Hayden was unconscious.
They worked on him for 40 minutes at his home before taking him to the hospital where he later died.
“My last words to him, as he was laying in the hospital, is ‘mommy is going to make you proud. I’m going to finish schooling, and I’m going to be the best nurse I can be’…It wasn’t someone else’s son. It was my son laying there, and I’m helpless,” Ashley said.
Ashley wants other parents and children to understand how dangerous asthma attacks can be.
Experts suggest parents create an Asthma Action Plan with their doctor and get tools such as an inhaler, a separator and a peak flow meter.
The advice Hayden’s mother wants people to take from her experience is for everyone to learn CPR and for those who suffer from asthma to know what their triggers are and how to properly give themselves medication.
“This stuff can happen. And it’s the worst thing that can happen,” she said.