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)

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)

B.C. mom urges parents to ‘trust instincts’ after 5-month-old hospitalized for meningitis

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

A Greater Vancouver Island 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

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

Forty-seven vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Jasper after he was reunited with his owners Mary and Brent Hummel. Photo: Steve Smith
New children’s book features lost Castlegar dog who swam the Columbia multiple times

Brent and Mary Hummel and Jasper tell their dramatic story

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read