3. What Happened?
Tom and Laura had been invited to a beach vacation in Corolla, NC with Laura’s family. On Monday, July 9th, 2018, Franklin contracted an illness from his daycare. Laura and Tom left work to take Franklin to the emergency room at Penn State Hershey Med Center. They were informed that he showed signs of Hands, Foot, and Mouth disease (HFMD) with a 104 degree fever and were told to let the disease run its course and provide baby Tylenol to ease Franklin’s fever and pain.
Laura scheduled a follow-up doctor's visit that Thursday (July 12) to see if the vacation would even be possible. Franklin saw a new doctor, Dr. Dambro. After his examination of Franklin, he said his HFMD was one of the worst cases he saw. He advised them they could go on the trip and Franklin would be fine. He said it was a virus that would run its course whether they were at home in Harrisburg or at a vacation home in North Carolina. Tom and Laura both stayed home from work to care for their son together. During that week, feeding Franklin was a challenge. He threw up almost daily and sleeping had not been easy. Franklin started showing signs of improvement by the end of the week, so the family decided to continue their vacation plans, with the anticipation that Franklin would be back to full health within a few days.
Tuesday, July 17 2018 around 3:30am, Tom was asleep in bed next to Laura with Franklin in the pack and play next to them. They were on the top floor of their rented vacation home. Franklin began whimpering and stirring. The sounds were soft but concerning, like a wounded dog calling for help. It was enough noise to wake Tom, who is a light sleeper. Tom picked up his son and took him out of the room so he did not wake Laura. He left the door cracked open and sat on the big red couch in the living room to try and figure out what was bothering his son.
On the big red couch, Tom laid his left arm under his son’s bottom and rested his head on his shoulder. He patted his back and bounced him gently. Franklin let out a burp which seemed to give him some relief. At this time, Tom knew he must be ready for a bottle. However, Franklin was still whimpering. Tom moved Franklin to his knee. He began bouncing him again. Tom had done this bouncing motion many many times before on his four month old son. Franklin responded to the motion and began to quiet down. Tom thought he may be falling asleep. With Franklin’s reflux lately, the family didn’t like lying him down unless for sleep. They were afraid he may choke on his own spit up if he was laying down flat.
Tom placed Franklin with his back against the corner of the couch, propped up between two big red pillows and left for the kitchen to prep bottles. When Tom returned to check on his son ten minutes later he found his son down in the pillow. He immediately picked up Franklin and ran him to the kitchen for better lighting. Franklin’s face had turned pale white and was starting to shade blue around his lips. The baby was limp with fixed eyes.
Tom immediately began CPR on the kitchen island. He was trained in CPR when he was in college and worked as a lifeguard. When he did this, Franklin responded. A milky substance flowed out of his nose and mouth. Tom cleaned it away and continued to administer breaths while wiping his nose and mouth after each effort. Franklin started to cough lightly. Tom didn’t see any improvement so he ran to the bedroom with Franklin in his arms to wake up Laura, screaming something is wrong with Franklin over and over. Laura flung out of bed waking everyone in the house. Laura’s sister immediately called 911. At the same time, Tom took Franklin back to the family room to continue CPR. Seconds later, Mike, Laura’s brother-in-law, an EMT dispatcher, arrived to tag team CPR with Tom. Deputy Hickman from the Currituck County Police Department responded to the 911 call. Deputy Hickman took over CPR and continued until EMS arrived.