Victims of Vaccine-Preventable Disease
Landon Carter Dube
On January 15, 2010, five-week old Landon Carter Dube went in to his doctor's office for a check-up. Carter's parents expressed concerns that he had been mildly spitting up his formula and seemed to be fussy when he went to sleep at night. The doctor suggested switching Carter's formula and monitoring his crying, but warned that the change may cause him to spit up more. After his parents switched his formula, Carter's parents noticed a change in their son. On Tuesday, January 19, his mother took his temperature and found him to be running a fever of 100.1. They immediately brought him back to visit the pediatrician.
Carter's breathing rate alarmed the nurses who treated him, prompting them to transfer Carter to Levine's Children's Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina. Carter was admitted to the Progressive Care Unit while the doctors speculated RSV, pneumonia, upper respiratory infection and pertussis (whooping cough) as possible diagnoses. Carter's first pertussis test didn't yield an accurate reading, so it had to be redone. After receiving a positive diagnosis for pertussis, Carter was admitted nasal oxygen and taken for chest x-rays while doctors suctioned his nose and lungs.
Carter seemed to be stable by Thursday, January 21 and his doctor decided if his progress continued, he would be able to go home as early as Saturday morning. But that Friday, Carter started coughing, lost his breath and turned blue, prompting doctors to send Carter to the PICU for observation. Early Sunday, the doctor's decided to put Carter on a respiratory breathing device. This would be the last time Carter's family would see him awake.
Later on Sunday, Carter was put on an Oscillator because his fragile body wasn't strong enough to handle the respiratory machine. On Tuesday evening, surgeons implanted an ECMO machine in Carter to provide cardiac and respiratory support. Carter emerged from the surgery with tubing down the side of his neck and ECMO technicians monitoring the status of his oxygen flow. His inability to release urine and the stress from his illness forced his tiny body to swell to nearly twice its size.
On January 28, the doctor's offered the last available medicines they hoped would treat Carter's debilitating illness. The medicine was administered around 3:30 P.M. on Thursday, January 28. After a half an hour, Carter's family was forced to say their goodbyes. Carter's IV in his foot was now completely blown and doctors were no longer receiving a reading of his blood pressure. His kidneys had completely stopped working, leaving his fragile body unable to handle the rigors of dialysis. At 5:06 that evening, Carter passed away from pertussis, leaving his family devastated and confused as to how this could happen so quickly.
Despite this tragedy, Carter's family is adamant about sharing their story with others, in an effort to prevent other children from suffering from vaccine-preventable diseases.
To read Carter's story in his mother's words, click here.
To learn more about pertussis, click here.