Volney Barrett- Freelance Writer
August will forever be a painful month for Kareen Campbell whose two baby boys died one year apart due to medical complications. As she prepares to celebrate her 35th birthday on Saturday, September 2, 2017, she now grapples with having to bury her second child.
Eight month-old Malique McCallum (died of pneumonia) and six month-old Daniel McCallum died in August 2016 and August 2017 respectively while admitted to the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital in Westmoreland. Daniel’s autopsy has not yet been done – but it is believed that an overgrown sepsis contributed to his demise.
The heartbroken mother, who has no more children left, related her painful tale to the Western Mirror.
Malique was born on December 6, 2015 at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital. Campbell’s nightmare began when he was three months old.
“I realize that he was making some strange sounds when I held him…so I took him to Sav Hospital where the doctor said he had pneumonia,” Campbell recalled.
According to her, Malique was given antibiotics, however, things only took a turn for the worst. Sometime later, while he was admitted, the doctor informed her that he had been hearing sounds on his chest.
An echocardiogram was performed on Malique to determine if something was wrong with his heart. Campbell said the test results showed that his heart was okay.
As defined by online site WebMd.com, an echocardiogram (also called an echo) is a type of ultrasound test that uses high-pitched sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The device picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of your heart.
But, according to Campbell, he started having breathing problems and they later found out that he had a lung infection. He was discharged sometime after but his condition began to worsen resulting in him being readmitted to the hospital.
A CT scan was performed which detected a scar on the lung. As Malique’s breathing challenges intensified, Campbell recounted, the medical professionals continued to give him antibiotics. Suddenly, Malique passed away on August 9, 2016.
On February 18, 2017, Daniel McCallum was born at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital. According to Campbell, her baby boy was “okay” until nightmare number two began when he was five months old (in July). By the next month of August, he was dead.
“He started to ‘teeth’ (growing teeth) and I also noticed that he started having loose stools and high fever,” recounted Campbell.
She further explained: “I took him to Sav Hospital where they did a scan on the stomach which showed that he was okay and his liver was fine.”
Daniel was transfused (given blood) on a number of occasions. According to Campbell, he began to pass blood in his stools and his urine also became dark.
She further disclosed that like Daniel’s now deceased older brother Malique, he also received antibiotics as part of his treatment. Daniel was also receiving protein and he also developed breathing problems.
“The baby’s aunt, who is a nurse in Kingston, told me that Daniel started to swell up and that it could be one of the antibiotics that caused it. Things got worse from then,” Campbell, a former hotel waitress, related.
An ultra-sound that was performed showed that the liver had become swollen and was not functioning properly. The liver’s main job is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. The liver also detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs. As it does so, the liver secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines. (WebMd.com).
Placed on a ventilator to help him breath, little Daniel could not hold on any longer. He passed away on August 14, 2017. As she prepares to bury her second child in one year, she is struggling to cope emotionally.
“Right now, it’s just too much for me. I had to leave Westmoreland and stay with my children’s aunt. I just keep crying,” said the Burnt Savannah, Westmoreland resident. Campbell says that a Kingston based lawyer has been working on their case.
In the meantime, the Western Mirror contacted Senior Medical Officer at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital, Dr. Alfred Dawes. According to Dr. Dawes, he is aware of the Campbell’s case and has been following it.
“Three babies died in the last year at Savanna-la-Mar Hospital, two of whom were Miss Campbell’s children. It is really traumatic and we can’t begin to imagine what Miss Campbell is going through,” Dr. Dawes empathized.
He went on: “The paediatric team worked hard to keep the patient (Daniel) alive…there were no issues with the medical care….it was timely and appropriate. The team really did all it could.”
According to Dr. Dawes, he wasn’t initially aware of Malique’s case but was fully apprised of Daniel’s case which he followed closely. He has met with Miss Campbell and has offered her counselling. She has denied the offer citing that her family has been standing with her.
Meanwhile, the hospital is reeling from an issue where rehabilitation work was being carried out while babies were present. This was captured on cellphone video by an angry parent. A subsequent probe by the health ministry revealed that protocol was breached with the minister instructing that disciplinary actions be taken against the guilty parties.