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Colin Durkin
GRT
Infant and Child Vaccines: Personal Testimonies

The Death of Colin, Pamela and Kevin Durkin's Infant Son

By Pamela and Kevin Durkin
We never knew that our newborn son, Colin, was exposed to pertussis. He never showed signs of the classic "whoop," for which the disease is named. But something was definitely wrong. After visiting our family's pediatrician in December of 2002, we were immediately referred to the local emergency room, where he was diagnosed with a stomach virus. Two nights later, he began severe vomiting so we took him back to the hospital.
After numerous respiratory tests, spinal tests, and chest x-rays, he was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. Over the next 24 hours Colin's breathing became more and more labored and he developed a gagging cough. As his condition grew worse, Colin was intubated and transported to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where he was put on life support. Finally, on his second day of life support, Colin was diagnosed with pertussis. Colin was our fourth child, and we never even realized he could contract pertussis and didn't understand its dangers. He was born a healthy, beautiful 7-lb. baby, whose life was suffocated out of him long before he would have taken his first step.
Colin died December 14, 2002, at seven weeks of age. Our lives, the lives of his siblings and extended family will never be the same. We could not be more devastated or bewildered about the events we encountered the week Colin died. We didn't know about pertussis until it was too late. Colin's experience has brought us closer as a family and compelled us to share our story. We encourage everyone to learn all they can about this disease; how it affects adolescents, adults, and especially unimmunized infants and young children.
We never had the chance to immunize Colin as he was still too young, but an ounce of prevention could go a long way in saving your child's life…
This statement provided by Pamela and Kevin Durkin, appears on http://www.pertussis.com, a project of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP). It is reprinted here with permission of NAPNAP, the copyright holder.
For more information, please visit Sounds of Pertussis.
Published 5/25/05
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Sounds of Pertussis
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Initiative of the March of Dimes
 
This page was reviewed on January 26, 2013
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The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), a non-profit organization, works to increase immunization rates and prevent disease by creating and distributing educational materials for health professionals and the public that enhance the delivery of safe and effective immunization services. IAC also facilitates communication about the safety, efficacy, and use of vaccines within the broad immunization community of patients, parents, healthcare organizations, and government health agencies.