Age at death - <2 months
Cause of death – Whooping cough (pertussis)
Vaccination Status – Unknown; highly likely he was unvaccinated due to young age (first pertussis dose is administered at 2 months)
What happened – Landon Carter Dube was born on December 8th, 2009. He was three weeks early; weighed in at 6 lbs 6 ounces and was 18 ½ inches long. On January 15th he went in for his 6 week check up (he was actually 5 weeks and 3 days old). His parents had some concerns that Carter had been spitting up a little and seemed to be kind of cranky at night. The doctor suggested switching his formula and monitoring his crying in case it was colic. Tuesday, January 19th Carter was not himself, he was cranky and wasn’t happy unless he was being held. When his mother took his temperature, he was running a low-grade fever (100.1). His parents decided to take him to his pediatrician for a quick visit. I will let his mother tell you what happened next:
We saw a NP that day; she was immediately concerned with Carter’s breathing rate and thought he maybe a little dehydrated. The next thing I knew we were in an ambulance headed to Levine’s Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, NC. We were admitted to the 8th floor, Progressive Care Unit for observation. Doctors came in and asked a lot of questions over and over again, everyone had to wear a mask and a gown because they were unsure what was wrong with Carter. The doctors threw around RSV, pneumonia, upper respiratory infection, and the lastly Purtussis (whooping cough).By January 19th, little Carter was simply cranky and restless, 10 days later he was gone. Heartbreaking; absolutely heartbreaking. Please, vaccinate your kids; get your booster shots, ask anyone that will be in constant contact with your newborn to take the booster shot.
Over the next two days, Carter had to be put on nasal oxygen, he was taken for chest x-rays, suctioning out of his nose and lungs, and they even beat his back to loosen up his lungs. Nothing worked and only seemed to make him mad. They even placed an IV in his arm (covering the finger he sucked on) to supplement his lack of mild intake.
Friday, January 22nd Carter started coughing and lost his breath and turned blue. I totally panicked; if my husband would not have been there I don’t know what would have happened. I just froze in my steps.
Saturday, January 23rd Carter was sent to the 6th floor PICU, for better care and observation.
Early Sunday, January 24th the decision was made to put Carter on a respiratory. He had become fussy and inconsolable, which caused him to struggle even more to breath. That was the last time we saw our Carterbug awake, but we didn’t know that at the time.
Around noon on Tuesday, the doctors starting through around the idea of putting Carter on an ECMO (heart and lung bypass machine), but it would be the last resort. The percentage we were given was 60/40 that he would leave the hospital with us. We discussed our options with the doctor and made arrangements for Zach to come and see Carter before the procedure was done. Zach for only being 10 handled it very well and was a real trooper through it all. Carter went into surgery later that evening and we sat around with our wonderful family and friends and waited. It took about 3 hours for the procedure and we were told Carter came through it ok.
I was not prepared for what I saw when I walked back to his room. My sweet baby boy with these huge tubes in the side of his neck and watching his blood go in and out of them. The ECMO machine itself was huge and required two people to run it at all times. Now Carter had four people in his room, two full time nurses and two ECMO techs. Carter had started swelling and wasn’t putting out enough urine for the fluid he was taking in. The doctors told us it was related to the stress on his body for being so sick. Now we had to worry about kidney failure and other issues related to the swelling.
Wednesday January 27th, was a good day. Carter held his own all day and there were no sudden changes. It was the first day we relaxed a little and talked about a long term plan. They didn’t sugar coat it, we were still looking at a month or more in the hospital before we would take him home. When we went to bed Wednesday night it was the first time I didn’t feel like I was carrying the world on my shoulders.
That feeling lasted about seven hours; we got a call from one of the specialists around 7:00. Carter had a rough night and they had to give him fluid boluses to keep his pressure up, we need to come to his room soon.
It was hard to stand back and look at my sweet baby boy all swollen to twice his size. They had him under a heat lamp to keep him warm and two huge medicine trees holding all of the meds that were working to keep him alive. An lets not forget the machine that was monitoring his heart and blood pressure that was constantly alarming us that something wasn’t right. It was like a bad dream and we just couldn’t wake up. We had asked the doctors to always be honest and to let us know when it got to the point that they were doing things too Carter and not for him.
At 5:06, Thursday January 29th, Carter received his angel wings. He went peacefully on his own terms to the arms of Jesus. I truly believe that we will see him one day and that his spirit is with us everyday.
Carter’s Mom telling her story on Facebook
Carter’s Mom sharing this story on Shareyourstory.org