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Friday, 22 May 2015

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Vaccine call after son’s whooping cough trauma

A Maryport couple watched in fear as their baby son lay dying while doctors failed to diagnose whooping cough.


Deon Goulding, of Buttermere Road, is now a healthy 18-month-old but his parents have shared their trauma this week as the NHS urges parents to have their children vaccinated against the disease.

There has been a rise locally and nationally, and three babies are known to have died from whooping cough this year.

So far, 3,523 cases have been reported nationally, compared with 1,040 cases last year.

First-time parents Johnathan Goulding, 23, and Janine Teasdale, 21, endured five weeks of terror as their son lay undiagnosed.

Deon was only a few days old when Janine noticed that he was coughing quite a bit. She mentioned it to a midwife who thought it was just mucus.

She said: “When he was eight days old I noticed that he was turning white in his sleep.

“Because we were new parents we thought we were being paranoid. When we took him to the doctors we were asked questions such as did his lips or ears turn blue, and we were told that he probably just had a little cold.”

The coughing continued and Deon seemed to get worse.

When he was 15 days old, he was admitted to hospital for observation, monitored overnight and sent home the next day with the all-clear.

Johnathan, an amateur international rugby player, said: “We came home on a Thurs-day. By the Monday he was really poorly.”

Janine added: “He suddenly let out a little cough and then I realised he was not breathing. Then he let out a massive scream and stopped breathing again. I thought he was dead.”

He was rushed to hospital where doctors diagnosed bronchiolitis. He was observed all night and the family were told they could take him home the next day.

“I refused to go,” said Johnathan. “We weren’t going to take him home until we knew he was okay.”

Deon was sent to the paediatric ward, where he continued to be sick every time he was fed and appeared to grow weaker.

On the third night in hospital, when he still did not seem to be settling, a nurse asked if she could monitor him.

His heart rate was dropping and he was immediately moved to intensive care, where he was placed in an oxygen tent.

After several days, a doctor suggested he should be tested for whooping cough.

Janine said: “Once they knew what it was they could treat it.

“The problem is that a newborn baby does not have the whoop that makes the disease recognisable. Also, people don’t think it exists anymore.”

After his diagnosis, Deon’s family and anyone he had been in contact with was put on antibiotics.

When Johnathan’s father became ill, he underwent five weeks of tests for asthma before being diagnosed.

Whooping cough affects all ages, but over the last few months the number of cases in teenagers and adults, between the ages of 15 and 40, has risen.

It is difficult to diagnose whooping cough as it can be mistaken for other illnesses.

Dr Nigel Calvert, associate director of public health for NHS Cumbria, said it was difficult to diagnose because in newborns the characteristic whoop was not necessarily present.

He added: “I think the parents often know best if their child is ill and if they are worried they should seek advice.

“Babies and infants have limited immunity to infection and whooping cough can make them very ill indeed, so it is essential that children are immunised as soon as they reach the appropriate age for the vaccine.

“My message to parents is that they should make the vaccination of their children, at the right time, a priority.”

Have your say

Our 10 year old daughter has been diagnosed this week with Whooping Cough after months of return visits to the GP. Every time we've been told she has croup....she's also been treated as an asthmatic.
We now have a nebuliser to use at home for 3 weeks which has started to help, but at night the coughing fits are extremely frightening - I would urge any parent to get their child re-vaccinated in order to prevent the same distress to their child, no matter what age they are.

Posted by Justine Dodd on 28 September 2012 at 18:51

My 5 week old son and I both have whooping cough, we had to go to the doctors 4 times before we were diagnosed. Its heart breaking watching my son coughing but he has been treated with anti biotics and is slowly getting better. This is a horrible illness.

Posted by clare graham on 28 September 2012 at 13:47

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