HealthZette

Mom Issues Warning After Baby Dies from This Dreaded Illness

'The moment they said meningitis, I knew there was a really strong possibility we were going to lose him,' said grieving mother

A Chesterfield, Virginia, family lost their 4-month-old son to meningitis last month — and now they have a message for other parents.

Little Killy Schultz died on June 30 — only 24 hours after developing a rash and fever on the way home from his day care facility, according to news station WTVR.

Health care officials told mom Alex Dempsey that they believe an unvaccinated person was carrying meningitis, and that little Killy came into contact with that person.

“Health officials we’ve spoken to who have been trying to track this down [say] that’s their best guess — that an unvaccinated person was carrying it around and my child happened to be the one who came in contact with it,” Dempsey told WTVR.

The grieving mom detailed the events leading up to her baby’s death.

“He had just [had] his bottle for the afternoon. He was a little warm, but we figured it was a warm day — so [let’s] get him home and let him cool off,” Dempsey explained to WTVR.

The child’s parents gave him Tylenol, but they were soon rushing the baby to the emergency room as his condition worsened. The little boy was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit.

“He was still trying to make little sounds, but he had a hard time opening his eyes and his blood pressure was very low. He wasn’t doing well at all,” said Dempsey.

After they ran some tests, doctors informed the heartsick parents that the baby had most likely contracted meningitis, an inflammation of the protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

The child had received his 4-month vaccinations just two days before.

“The moment they said meningitis I knew there was a really strong possibility that we were going to lose him,” Dempsey said.

The child’s heart rate eventually dropped, and doctors performed CPR. Killy’s parents finally told the medical staff to stop their life-saving efforts.

“After 10 minutes of CPR, grown adults don’t come back from that — he was brain dead,” Dempsey said.

“He was so swollen and purple, and it really didn’t look like him anymore, but I still held him to tell him how beautiful he was, and he was far more than I ever deserved to have, and I told him how hard he had fought, and that we were so proud of him,” said the mom.

Related: Vaccines: They’re ‘Morally Right’ for Kids’ Health

The Virginia Department of Health is investigating, said WTVR, and it shared with the grieving family the steps taken for anyone who may have been exposed.

“Everyone who had any chance of coming in contact with it has taken a prophylaxis measure of antibiotics, which is what they had us do as well,” said Dempsey. “They also made sure his day care and all the children in his day care also received the preventative treatment.”

Symptoms of meningitis in newborns and infants may include the following, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • High fever
  • Constant crying
  • Excessive sleepiness or irritability
  • Inactivity or sluggishness
  • Poor feeding
  • A bulge in the soft spot on the top of a baby’s head (fontanel)
  • Stiffness in a baby’s body and neck

“If anything comes out of this, we want people to be aware that vaccinations can prevent things like this. Vaccines aren’t just for kids — they’re for adults, too. He was just a baby, so he really didn’t have much of a chance,” said Dempsey.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist the family with its funeral expenses.

Deirdre Reilly is a senior editor with LifeZette. Follow her on Twitter.