This Is the Terrifying Tonsillectomy Complication That 1 Mom Wants All Parents to Know About

Toddler had tonsils removed
Danna Davidson

After Danna Davidson's little girl came out of surgery, she thought the worst was behind them. Little Evie seemed to be recovering better than expected after having her tonsils removed, and her pain was easily managed as her throat healed. However, the 3-year-old ended up suffering from a horrifying complication when she started hemorrhaging so much blood that Davidson thought she was dying in her arms. Now, a year after this traumatizing ordeal, the mom from Australia is sharing her story in the hopes of warning other parents of what can happen after children have tonsillectomies. 

Warning: Some of the following images are graphic in nature. 

  • After Evie had her tonsils removed, everything seemed fine for the first few days.

    Toddler had tonsils removed
    Danna Davidson

    After the 3-year-old had her tonsils and adenoids removed, she returned home to recover that same day, and her mom was pleased to see that her little girl was doing well post-op. According to Davidson, Evie wasn't experiencing anything more than the expected pain in the days that followed, and medicine helped to keep her comfortable. 

  • Advertisement
  • But six days later, the toddler started gushing blood.

    Toddler had tonsils removed
    Danna Davidson

    Nearly a week after her surgery, Evie was lying down at home when without warning, she started vomiting blood. "She was fine and we were just resting in the lounge room when I walked into kitchen and out of nowhere, she started spewing lots of blood," she tells CafeMom. "I knew that it was possible it could happen but did not expect to see so much blood. It was the scariest day of my life." 

    More from CafeMom: Anti-Vaxxer Mom Found Out Her Daughter Was Secretly Vaccinated & Is Beyond Furious

  • Evie stayed calm, but Davidson understandably panicked.

    Toddler had tonsils removed
    Danna Davidson

    As Evie was vomiting blood, she had a massive blood clot hanging from her mouth, and Davidson didn't know what to do as she called for an ambulance. "I was so frantic, I was screaming, 'She is dying, she is dying!'" Davidson says. "I [kept] asking how far away the ambulance was and the operator kept telling me to be calm."

    However, despite the flood of blood, Evie had the opposite reaction. "Evie was so calm, telling me everything was OK," she says. 

  • When the medics arrived, they told Davidson to take pictures so doctors could see just how much blood the child lost.

    Toddler had tonsils removed
    Danna Davidson
    Davidson usually isn't squeamish when it comes to blood and tends to stay calm, but all of that went out the window and she became a "raving lunatic" as she clutched Evie. "When it's your own child, you lose all training," she says.

    Ten minutes later, her husband arrived as the ambulances pulled up. "He took her [from] me and they cut the massive clot out of her mouth," she says.

    To Davidson, it looked like they were standing in a crime scene, and paramedics told her that they'd never seen a child lose this much blood from a tonsillectomy complication. So that doctors could understand just how much blood Evie's little body had lost, they recommended that she snap a few photos. 

    More from CafeMom: Mom Planned a 'Dead Baby' Cake Smash After Her Son Almost Died at Birth & People Aren't Having It

    "I was in shock and I couldn't walk because my legs where shaking that much," she says. "It was the scariest day of my life." 



  • After Evie was stabilized in the ICU, she spent two nights in the pediatric unit.

    Toddler had tonsils removed
    Danna Davidson

    Although Davidson was aware that one of the complications after a tonsillectomy can be for kids to start bleeding, she never realized how long after the surgery they are still at risk and how suddenly it can happen.

    "Parents are told this can happen at the time of the operation and to be prepared, but when it's your child and so much blood, nothing can prepare you," she says. "It's bloody scary; it looked like a murder scene." 

    According to USA Today, a tonsillectomy is one of the most common childhood surgeries in the United States. However, a study published in Pediatrics found that 8 percent of pediatric patients studied returned to the hospital following their surgery, and bleeding was the most common reason.

toddlers