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

The Easter Bunny stopped off at Krystal Creek Riding in Pitt Meadows last year for a brief visit during his rounds. (Special to The News)
City of Pitt Meadows looks to make Easter enjoyable for young residents

Parents can register their kids for a self-guided scavenger hunt starting March 8

The Maple Ridge fire department responded to the blaze at 7 p.m. Thursday evening. (THE NEWS/files)
Maple Ridge firefighters battle chimney blaze on Thursday night

Family of six were alerted in time by helpful neighbour and smoke detectors

Cpl. Victoria Boechler is shaving her head to raise money for the BC Cancer Foundation. (Facebook/Ridge Meadows RCMP)
Maple Ridge officer shaving head for BC Cancer Society

Cpl. Victoria Boechler supporting a cousin recently diagnosed with cancer

BC Hydro is reporting a power outage is just north of the Lougheed Highway, between 203rd Street and Laity Street, and Dewdney Trunk Road and Powell Avenue. (BC Hydro)
An employee at the Shoppers Drug Mart at 224 Street and Dewdney Trunk Road in Maple Ridge, has tested positive for COVID-19. (Black Press files)
COVID exposure at Maple Ridge Shoppers Drug Mart

Employee tested positive for COVID-19

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

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

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read