When Brady was born his parents insisted that friends and family wash their hands or use hand sanitizers before they were permitted to pick him up. What they didn’t realize was that these actions wouldn’t be enough to protect their precious son from a dangerous disease called pertussis – also known as whooping cough.
Since infants don’t begin receiving vaccinations for pertussis (DTaP) until they are two months old, they remain vulnerable to this highly contagious disease at a time when they are most fragile. Today we share Brady’s battle in the same way that his mother did; through her Facebook status updates. This small glimpse into one family’s heartbreak reminds us of how fragile a young life can be and highlights how important adult pertussis boosters are in sparing others from suffering and possibly even death.
In early January, Brady’s parents suspected that he was coming down with a cold. When his fever spiked to 104 they brought him to the ER where he was subjected to a multitude of tests, but ultimately sent home where they continued to monitor his condition.
Brady’s mother Kathy kept her friends and family updated on Brady’s condition through her personal Facebook posts.
January 9: I hate when one of my babies are sick baby to go to the ER on sat/sun morning because of a high temp they ran tests and everything came back negative thank god! Went to his pedi today got more blood work it’s just a cold no medicine thankfully he is fine! Hope my little guy gets better soon.
January 11: Went to the pedi office this morning with my Brady pants his breathing was worrying us we have to do updraft treatments every few hours and go back for 6 to see the MD poor little guy.
January 15: Home my sis is here bought us a humidifier for Brady for Christmas hopefully it will help with his horrible cough! When will this end its horrible having him so sick 🙁
One week later, Jon and Kathy were back at the hospital with Brady. While the staff worked diligently to help Brady, his condition was constantly changing and the uncertainty was extremely stressful.
January 16: Well Brady is being admitted to BMC for his breathing, we have a room in ICU for babies
January 17: Hhhhhhhh…wish he was better now :_(
January 17: Daddy went home to be with the girls and let them sleep in their own beds, just me Brady and the Bruins hopefully we have a quiet night… on a good note his breathing is getting better and he even gave daddy a smile before he left! Keep the prayers coming they are being heard! High possibility no breathing tube will be needed
January 17: Guess who’s awake and feeling a little better!
January 17: A little smile he is saving them all for the nurses little flirt! January 18: Yeah they are going to try to give my little bruiser some food! When he wakes up I can or Jon whichever is here, a bottle smile it’s been well over a day and a half since he’s eaten
January 19: This has been a long long journey, I don’t ever want to go through this again, and wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy. Brady is doing ok unfortunately he can’t eat on his own we have to put the feeding tube back in because oral feeding is too much right now for the little guy 🙁
January 20: Well 2 months ago I had my handsome little boy and today is day 5 in the pedi ICU, hopefully good news will be coming our way
January 21: My shift back at the hospital with the baby just wish we were out of here and home snuggling watching the snow fall as a whole family 🙁
January 21: It’s hard when you see everyone coming and going from this unit, seems everyone but Brady is getting better 🙁 when will it end? Just want to bring my son home. So tired and exhausted hopefully some good news tomorrow
January 22: Don’t want to jinx but Mr. Brady pants is being weaned off his oxygen flow Dr. Duda the respiratory md says he sounds and looks great and we soon can start the feedings back up smile keeping positive my little guy will be out soon
January 23: Brady is still doing the same they finally after 8 days started him on antibiotics they think its whooping cough the min we can leave is 5 days! this is the worst experience I ever had to go through 🙁 so thankful to have Jon we are side by side holding each other’s hand balancing this and the girls….boy after this we need a vacation
January 23: So now they have to place a breathing tube 🙁 keep praying for my baby
January 24: They are switching out the ventilator because his body wasn’t responding like they wanted it to; his carbon dioxide level was on the high side. Now they are starting him on heliox system…my poor baby just looks so still, I can’t wait till this Crap is done and over with 🙁
January 26: Just to let everyone know Brady’s status is not getting better not worse but we have a team of attendings that are going to be taking on his case with the md that he has had…they are assessing him now and going to brainstorm on what is going to happen next. Just want my baby back 🙁 Healthy
At this point there was little that Brady’s parents could do but pray that their precious boy would get better. As Brady’s condition grew desperate he was transferred to Boston Children’s Hospital.
January 27: We are now at Boston’s children hospital, Brady is in critical condition his heart stopped and they had to give him compressions…¦we are waiting to see him they put him on a heart and lung bypass machine. They are worried about brain injury; please pray he will be a healthy boy playing baseball someday. I will try to update as much as I can.
Sadly, Brady passed away the next day, just barely 2 months old. Kathy’s Facebook update read:
January 28: Brady Robert Alcaide 11/20/11~1/28/12 “May the angels carry him home”
Kathy comments on the experience:
“Jon and I were beyond stunned. The disease just moved so fast. It wasn’t actually until after Brady was gone that we got an official diagnosis that confirmed he had whooping cough. People don’t think much about diseases like whooping cough these days. I know that before going through this nightmare, I never would have imagined this could happen and even the best medical care couldn’t help.”
“Losing a baby we loved is more than any parent should have to suffer. That’s why our mission since his loss has been to educate everyone (most of all pregnant women) on the importance of the adult Tdap booster shot, especially for people who have any contact with newborns. Nothing can bring back our baby. But hopefully we can help prevent another tragedy by getting our message out. A web page we started called “Brady’s Cause” simply asks people to pledge to get vaccinated. It’s a simple gesture that could save a young life and a way to help raise awareness and make a difference in the lives of others.”
Now Kathy and Jon are determined to educate everyone to get a Tdap booster, especially if they have any contact with newborns. To help prevent this sort of tragedy from happening to other families, they have become regional advocates for Every Child By Two and have started a Facebook page called “Brady’s Cause” where they’re asking people to pledge to get vaccinated.
Kathy and Jon have since welcomed another precious baby boy Jaxon into the world. As advocates they continue to use Brady’s story to educate people about the risks of pertussis, the vaccine that is available to help prevent it and the importance of adult Tdap boosters in protecting those too young to be vaccinated. Kathy made certain to get her Tdap shot during her third trimester of pregnancy with Jaxon and she and Jon made certain everyone around the new baby was up to date on their Tdap vaccines.