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Canada Grieving mother blames CHEO doctors for death of son

14:56  09 august  2018
14:56  09 august  2018 Source:   cbc.ca

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Dakiel Corrigan contracted whooping cough and was taken off life support at 44-days-old.© Zoey Lepage-Corrigan/Facebook Dakiel Corrigan contracted whooping cough and was taken off life support at 44-days-old.

An eastern Ontario couple wants to sue CHEO doctors, accusing them of neglecting their baby boy Dakiel who died of whooping cough last August after it went undiagnosed in two emergency room visits.

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Zoe Lepage from Lefaivre, Ont., east of Ottawa, said she and her husband want other parents to get their infants tested for the respiratory illness.

"I don't think another parent should go through what we went through," Lepage said.

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​Dakiel was born on July 17, 2017, and was a month old when he started throwing up and coughing.

The couple brought their son to CHEO twice and were told it wasn't serious both times.

When Dakiel turned blue, paramedics rushed him to CHEO where he was diagnosed with whooping cough.

While he was at CHEO, Dakiel's heartbeat slowed to a snail's pace and Lepage made the decision to take her son off life support.

He died on Aug. 25 after 44 days with his parents.

"With the four days that we spent there barely sleeping, barely eating, being at his side constantly, not able to touch him, it was the worst nightmare ever," Lepage said.

"I wouldn't wish this on anybody."

Lepage said she and her husband don't understand why doctors couldn't figure out what the illness was.

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"Even Google told me … just by typing in the symptom, the first thing that came up was whooping cough. How can you not see all the other signs?"

'I couldn't save him'

At first, Lepage said by choosing to take her son off life support, she blamed herself.

"It was the worst feeling in the world. Like I failed, I failed him. I couldn't save him. I felt guilty," she said.

"I should have pushed more, the first times I went to [the hospital]."

a baby sitting on a bed: Zoe Lepage says she wants other parents who go to CHEO to get their children tested for whooping cough.© Zoe Lepage-Corrigan/Facebook Zoe Lepage says she wants other parents who go to CHEO to get their children tested for whooping cough.

But that blame shifted over to doctors after she spoke to the coroner on the phone.

The coroner told her even if doctors could get his heart beating at a healthy rate, the right side of his brain was already far too damaged.

If he had survived, he probably would not have been able to talk, walk or feed himself.

"I gave him everything that he needed," Lepage said.

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"What I couldn't give him, the hospital should have and they didn't. So I don't blame myself anymore, but I do blame the doctors that neglected him."

She said they feel doctors failed their son.

"Deep down inside of us we know they didn't do everything."

Difficult to detect

A statement from Dr. Lindy Samson, infectious disease specialist and chief of staff at CHEO, said CHEO cannot comment specifically on Dakiel's situation for privacy reasons.

Samson said whooping cough can sometimes be difficult to detect in young infants in the early stage of the illness, because it can present itself in atypical ways.

She said all young infants who come to the emergency department are seen faster than older children with the same symptoms.

Babies get their first whooping cough vaccines at two months, leaving younger infants susceptible to the illness.

Samson said CHEO has advocated for changes to the national immunization guidelines to protect infants from whooping cough.

Health Canada guidelines were changed in March and now call for pregnant women to be vaccinated against the illness during the last few months of pregnancy to pass the protection on to their babies.

The new guidelines will ensure that 90 per cent of babies are protected, Samson said.

Lepage said she was vaccinated for whooping cough when she was pregnant, but that the vaccine did not prevent her son's death.

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