Seth just wasn’t getting any better.

The 11-year-old had been sick with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea for weeks. Trips to the pediatrician and their local emergency room weren’t helping much. “They ruled out appendicitis and told us it was some sort of flu,” Seth’s mom, Josephine, recalls. “They said it could take weeks to get better.” But it never did.

On New Year’s Day, Seth’s parents returned with their son for a third time to their nearest emergency room. He was sicker than ever, and doctors couldn’t figure out what the problem was, his parents decided to transfer Seth to UC Davis Children’s Hospital where a pediatric care team immediately went to work on his healing.

Seth and Dr. Kohler.

“From the minute we arrived, there was such a difference,” Josephine says. Only a few hours later, the dilemma was solved. Seth was wheeled into surgery. “I was in tears … but the doctor assured me, ‘I am going to take care of Seth like he is my own child. He will be OK.’”

Surgeons removed a ruptured appendix which was the start of a very long recovery compared with most appendectomies. Infection had invaded other areas of the digestive tract. Other complications arose due to how long the problem originally festered.

But finally — five weeks and two additional surgeries later — Seth was well enough to come home.

“I truly believe if our son had stayed at the previous hospital, he probably would have died,” Josephine says. “The UC Davis care team was relentless to get on top of the real cause. I knew we were in the right place.”