Green Country Family Warns Of Whooping Cough Dangers After Infant Son's Death

Monday, November 29th 2010, 9:04 am
By: News On 6 & Tara Vreeland, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Oklahoma is in the middle of the worst outbreak of whooping cough it's seen in a long time. There have been 65 confirmed cases of the disease in Oklahoma this season.

State health leaders are urging people to get vaccinated.

One Green Country family knows just how deadly it can be. Logan Bradlee was born healthy baby boy to the Berg family in May 2009.

"He came home perfectly healthy. I'm the one who was sick at the time," said Jennifer Berg, Logan's mother.

Jennifer said she had been fighting a cough for a few months before Logan was born. Doctors told her it was allergies. But shortly after his birth, Logan developed a cough.

The infant's persistent cough soon led to a 104 degree fever. Baby Logan, not even a month old, was fighting for his life. Logan died in his mother's arms on June 14th, 2009.

"When he passed away, the girl came in and said he tested positive for pertussis," Jennifer said.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is characterized by spasms of severe coughing. Coughing fits are relentless, often making it hard for the person to catch their breath until the end of the fit.

A vaccine and booster are available, but Jennifer didn't get one. She said for a long time, she placed blame on herself.

"I've had a break down the past few months because of flashbacks they call PTSD," she said. "I'm having flashbacks of them cutting the cord and handing him to me."

"I get a lot of "keep your chin up. You'll be okay," said Richard Berg, Logan's father. "It's hard to do. Very hard."

The family says they have had to let go of the what if's. Instead they focus on Logan's memory. A stocking hangs by the fireplace and a candle burns.

Outside, they planted a tree and Logan's Rock Garden offers a place of peace.

"It's been tough but as a family we'll stick together and we'll be okay," Logan's parents said.

Jennifer said she can't stress enough the importance of the vaccine for new mothers and fathers.

The Tulsa Health Department says everyone needs to make sure they are up to date on the vaccine and booster. About 90 percent of whooping cough deaths happen in babies less than six months old.

For more information, visit the Oklahoma Department of Health's web site.