A Langley mother is frustrated with the health-care system after struggling to get a diagnosis for episodes that leave her toddler fighting to breathe.

Stephanie Leighland told CTV News Vancouver her four-year-old daughter, Celina, started having the issues in December 2018 and that it sounds like she is “drowning.”

“During an episode, she starts to build up just like a frothy foam and then she will need to basically cough up a bubble of thickened phlegm,” explained Leighland.

The family has visited their pediatrician and received nasal sprays and other treatments, but nothing has proven successful.

Leighland said she was so fed up that on Monday she went to BC Children’s Hospital and refused to leave until Celina was diagnosed.

“I said I have packed myself a suitcase and I am not leaving until I have answers as to why this is happening. And there were no tests that were done. They didn’t really do anything while they were there,” said Leighland.

Celina is on several wait lists for specialists, but the family has been told it could be months before appointments are made. Leighland worries her daughter can’t wait that long.

The young girl was born with special needs and uses a feeding tube for all her nutrition. Leighland worries health care workers are dismissing her daughter’s new issues as part of her ongoing struggles.

“She deserves better than this life regardless of her diagnosis and regardless of her condition,” said Leighland. “If my typical child, my seven-year-old typical child started choking in her sleep and couldn’t breathe and I went to Children’s, I’m sure that they would try and do something for her.”

The Ministry of Health told CTV News Vancouver it would not be commenting and that it would leave that up to BC Children’s.

In a statement, a spokesperson said they could not speak to specific cases for privacy reasons.

“For children who have ongoing health issues that are not acute, ED physicians may schedule follow-up care on an outpatient basis, as well as refer children to their family physician, specialists, or other health-care providers for follow-up diagnosis and treatment,” wrote Provincial Health Services Authority spokesperson Justine Ma.

Leighland posted on Facebook pleading for help. By Wednesday evening, that posting already has dozens of shares and comments.