GOOD NEWS

Parents say 12-year-old’s back pain turns into life-threatening infection

Jul 7, 2023, 6:41 PM | Updated: Jul 8, 2023, 2:34 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — When Tom Parkin’s daughter started complaining of back pain after a trip to the pool, he didn’t think much of it. 

“She said that she pulled a muscle in her back swimming and that grew into a spasm,” Parkin said. “After a visit with the pediatrician and an x-ray, he said ‘yeah, just give her painkillers killers.’”

The pain never let up. For two weeks, 12-year-old Diana could not sleep, eat, and developed concerning breathing issues.

“She started getting a little rash with pimples that were water-filled, very unusual looking,” Parkin said.

The family rushed her to urgent care where doctors determined her condition was so severe, she needed to be flown to Primary Children’s Hospital. Further tests revealed she had a deadly infection known as MRSA, which caused an abscess in her back, pneumonia in her lungs, sepsis, and respiratory failure.

“They are not sure exactly how it happened, but it likely came through the lungs,” Parkin said. “She could have been in contact with somebody with it. It could’ve been while swimming, it could’ve been…they’re just not sure.”

The infection rapidly progressed, and Diana is now kept alive on a ventilator. She has had multiple surgeries including one where doctors inserted a tube in each lung to drain fluid.

Her family is hopeful she will make a full recovery and is happy to see her spirits are improving.

“I walked into her room, and they were playing Eye of the Tiger,” Parkin said. “There she was moving her head to the beat, the rhythm, mouthing the words.” 

Parkin said he wished the family would have known what MRSA symptoms looked like earlier. They are hoping others learn from their experience.

“I had no idea; I wish a couple of weeks ago I would have known to look for those signs. I wish we brought her to the emergency room sooner,” Parkin said. “If you have a parental intuition that something is wrong, maybe you need to ask for an MRI from your doctor.”

Diana’s parents have both set up GoFundMe accounts to help pay for medical expenses.

GoFundMe* on behalf of Mom, Isabel.

GoFundme* on behalf of Dad, Tom Parkin.


*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

KSL 5 TV Live

Good News

Community members gathered Monday to celebrate the return of a 9-year-old boy after being hit by a ...

Andrew Adams

Community welcomes home 9-year-old Huntsville boy who was hit by car

A large crowd gathered Monday to welcome home a 9-year-old boy just barely released from the hospital, after a lengthy fight for his survival.

2 days ago

Rescuers pulling the driver of a semitruck out from the rubble after an explosion....

Brittany Tait

Unified police officer rescues driver from burning semi in Little Cottonwood

A heroic officer and bystanders rescued the driver of a semitruck after a fiery rollover crash in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

8 days ago

Bank workers lend helping hand at home of West Valley veteran, nearly 30 others in 'paint-a-thon' (...

Andrew Adams

Bank workers lend helping hand at home of West Valley veteran, nearly 30 others in ‘paint-a-thon’

A veteran’s house was getting a swift makeover Monday as bank workers volunteered their after-hours time on nearly 30 home improvement service projects in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.

9 days ago

Adam Benicosa is being considered a mailman hero after helping a woman who fell while gardening. (J...

Jessica Lowell

Mailman considered a hero after helping a woman who fell

A mailman in Roy is being considered for a Postmasters General Heroes’ Award after he helped a lady who had fallen and couldn’t get up.

12 days ago

KSL TV's Tamara Vaifanua worked with Missy Cowley during an episode of BYUtv's "Random Acts." (BYUt...

Tamara Vaifanua

KSL TV crews help girl spend day as news reporter for BYUtv’s ‘Random Acts’

"Random Acts," a BYUtv show dedicated to surprising people with fun acts of kindness, let KSL TV in on some of the fun.

13 days ago

Pele, a Western lowland gorilla, had her baby at Utah's Hogle Zoo Thursday night. (Courtesy: Utah's...

Carlysle Price

Utah’s Hogle Zoo welcomes a Western lowland gorilla infant, a critically endangered species

A male Western lowland gorilla was born at Utah's Hogle Zoo at 6:30 p.m. Thursday night.

19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Parents say 12-year-old’s back pain turns into life-threatening infection