Five-month-old Nova Dougan is in the hospital and may have brain damage after being infected with meningococcal meningitis. (Photo courtesy of Taylor Dougan)

Colwood mom urges parents to ‘trust instincts’ after 5-month-old hospitalized with meningitis

5-month-old Nova Dougan could have severe brain damage

A Colwood mom is urging parents to trust their instincts when it comes to their children’s health after her five-month-old daughter was hospitalized with a serious, life-threatening infection.

On Nov. 12 Taylor and Garrett Dougan had just returned from a family trip in Vancouver when they noticed their five-month-old daughter Nova was showing signs of what they originally thought was teething. They kept an eye on Nova, whose health began to take a turn for the worse.

Nova started vomiting and hadn’t eaten in 13 hours. She was jaundiced and was in a “sleep-like coma,” according to her mom Taylor Dougan.

“She started to look like she was dying,” Dougan said.

They took Nova to the doctor, who said she had gastroenteritis – inflammation of the stomach and intestines, or the stomach flu – and the family was told to go home and wait it out. But Dougan said Nova’s health only declined after that. Her symptoms didn’t change and she began to have seizures.

READ ALSO: Sooke mom launches GoFundMe campaign to get medical treatment for son

Dougan called her husband and the pair rushed their daughter to the emergency department at Victoria General Hospital where they found out she had meningococcal meningitis – a serious infection of the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

According to the World Health Organization, the infection is associated with high fatality – up to 50 per cent when left untreated. Dougan said the doctor told her this is the first case of meningitis they’ve had in the last three years, and the chances of survival were extremely low for Nova. They were told to prepare for the worst and that the first 12 to 48 hours would be crucial.

Dougan had to explain what was happening to her six-year-old daughter, who she said was having a difficult time with everything.

“It was just awful, she’s having a hard time dealing with all of this,” Dougan said.

Nova made it past the 12 to 48 hour window and the family has been told she will survive, however the five-month-old is now at extremely high risk for brain damage.

Dougan describes Nova to be a happy, outgoing and social baby who just started crawling before she fell ill. Now the family is worried that progress may be lost.

“We may have lost our old Nova,” Dougan said.

Doctors have told the family the recovery could take years. They’re still running tests to ensure the infection is gone as Nova continues to have fevers.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: North Island man trapped under ATV for days shows promise at Victoria hospital

But the family is holding out hope, calling her a “miracle” to begin with since Dougan had to take fertility drugs just to conceive Nova.

While Dougan has been on maternity leave, her husband – who works for Victoria Construction Ltd. – has had to take time off work to be by his family’s side.

Other mothers in the community have set up GoFundMe pages to help the family out with other expenses so they can focus on their daughter.

Although it is yet to be determined what Nova’s future will look like, Dougan said she is relieved her daughter is alive and urges parents to trust their instincts and not hesitate to take their children to the hospital if they are worried about their health.

The GoFundMe pages can be accessed here and here.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive again on Oct. 21 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Search continues for bear wandering through Saanich

Bear spotted eating garbage near Elk Lake Wednesday, B.C. Conservation says

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters already casting their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
More than 10,000 voters have cast advance ballots in Saanich North and Islands

Only two ridings, one of them on Vancouver Island, have seen more advance voting

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Tree-pruning community gathers in Oak Bay after tragic death

Crews met in solidarity at site of Tuesday incident

Some 30 people including a dozen youth participated in North Saanich’s first ever Fridays for Future protest outside of municipal hall on Mills Road Friday, according to organizers. (Anne-Marie Daniel/Submitted)
Fridays for Future plans second event for North Saanich after inaugural protest

Some 30 people attended first protest on Oct. 9 with a second one scheduled for Oct. 23

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read