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)

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

February 17, 2021 - Kaelyn (L) and Costin Campbell are Goldstream News Gazette 2021 Local Heroes.
Pint-sized duo inspires others to be green

Costin and Kaelyn Campbell are this year’s Environmental Heroes

Erin Oldman received a scholarship through Royal Roads University (RRU), called the Legacy Award, which is given out once every five years. Oldman graduated from RRU with a Masters of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding, and is using the award to establish a charity called International Humanitarian Assessments, which helps people in war-torn areas of the Middle East. (Photo contributed by Erin Oldman)
Royal Roads University graduate receives $25,000 award

Erin Oldman will use the award to establish a charity in the Middle East

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

The It’s Critical campaign has raised $5.89 million towards its $7 million goal to expand critical care capacity at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Critical care improvements make the list with Greater Victoria shoppers

Save-On-Foods pledges $300,000 to Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign

West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities face a challenging future in terms of funding, due to reduced operations throughout the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore Parks and Recreation faces challenging future

West Shore Parks and Recreation Society submits 2021 budget request to owner municipalities

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from BC Ferries staff

After Dasher made a dash, staff in Comox found her and got her home safe

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Most Read