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Boy, 2, dies after choking on jell-o

By ALEXANDER BRUZUAL Tuesday, February 4 2014

THE DEATH of a two-year-old boy, eight days after he was admitted to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Mt Hope, is now engaging the attention of Central Division police detectives.

Jaylon Isaac, who lived with his mother in Palmiste, Chaguanas, was admitted to the Medical Complex on January 24, after reportedly choking on a piece of jell-o which was fed to him by his babysitter.

Baby Jaylon was rushed to the Chaguanas District Health Facility, before being transferred to the EWMSC, where he was treated. However, at the time of his admittance at the EWMSC, baby Jaylon had already suffered severe brain damage due to a lack of oxygen.

Eight days later, on February 1, in the presence of his mother Oneka Isaac, baby Jaylon died at the EWMSC. An autopsy done by forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov confirmed the child died as a result of neurogenic complications arising from deprivation of oxygen to the brain as a result of him choking on the jell-o.

“From the report, this death was accidental. The child choked on a item of food which he was fed and as a result, his brain was suffocated. It (the brain) was denied oxygen for an extended period of time. To make a long story short, by the time he was brought to the hospital, the victim was diagnosed with axonal injury to the brain and so basically the child was brain dead due to suffocation.

“He was placed on respiratory support but as is common with neurogenic complications and in this case neurogenic pneumonia, within three to four days he developed certain complications such as difficulty in breathing. Eventually, the toddler succumbed to his injuries which is unfortunate. But there was no evidence of any deliberate acts so we can conclude that death was accidental,” Dr Alexandrov explained.

Speaking with Newsday yesterday, Isaac’s mother Oneka said Jaylon was her youngest son and his death has left her shattered. “His brother Jhayden is three and right now I am in a state. I am just sad. That’s all I am feeling, sadness. Jaylon’s death has impacted everyone who knew him. He was just a sweet child. He was always smiling,” Oneka said.

During the interview, Oneka asked her son Jhayden to tell Newsday where his brother was.

“He went hospital and then he went home. He home,” young Jhayden responded. The grieving mother said she does not know how to explain to Jhayden that he will never again see his younger brother.

What made the toddler’s death more hurtful, Oneka said, was the fact that Jaylon was in the care of a “family friend” who was baby sitting the two-year-old while she (Oneka) was away.

“I don’t even know how he end up eating jell-o. Jaylon doesn’t even like jell-o. He loved corn curls. But the babysitter said she gave it to him and he choked on it,” Oneka said.

She told Newsday that the babysitter informed her that when she realised baby Jaylon was choking, she notified the emergency health services. She said that the babysitter claimed that officials told her they didn’t have any ambulance to spare and advised that in the interim, she should perform CPR while efforts were being made to access a vehicle.

When Jaylon’s lips began turning blue, the distraught woman contacted someone to pick her up and take them to the Chaguanas Health Centre. From there he was transferred to the Medical Complex in Mt Hope.

“When he arrived at the Health Centre, he was unresponsive and doctors had to give him a series of injections, I think four before he responded. Then they took him to Mt Hope where doctors told us he had suffered brain damage and had to be put on life support. They said his lungs had been damaged too but after a few days he was getting better,” Oneka said.

“But they said that he still had to do a brain stem test to see if he was brain dead. Eventually they discovered that he had brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. He fought for his life for a few days and we were all praying for him. On Saturday at about 10 am, he died at hospital. I was right there with him,” Oneka recalled.

She noted that she had been in contact with the police since the incident and up to yesterday, they had assured her that they would be pursuing investigations into the child’s death. In a later interview, Jaylon’s father Christopher Bethel passionately called for a proper investigation to be done into the child’s death.

“He was my son. He was my youngest boy and I find the entire incident troubling. I don’t understand why it took so long for him to reach the hospital. That is what hurting me,” Bethel said.

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