"OAKLAND -- The pediatric inpatient unit was quiet, except for the deep, relentless coughing. It was the sound of asthma -- asthma out of control."
"Two of the children who'd spent the night there, oxygen sensors glowing red around their index fingers, were ill, one with a bad cold, the other with pneumonia. But they were confined to hospital beds for a different reason: Their lungs were screaming for more air. Their illnesses had likely caused their already-sensitive airways to tighten up, choking off the flow of oxygen. And so far, nothing -- not the quick-relief inhaler at home, nor hours of treatment in the emergency room -- was enough to bring their breathing back to normal.
'I don't understand why he's not getting any better,' said Angelica Tanner, as her son, 6-year-old Johnathan, lay listlessly in the bed next to her seat. It was their 15th hour at Summit Hospital, in a unit run by Children's Hospital Oakland."