My Brother Kevin: lifelong impact of having whooping cough
When my brother Kevin was a 6 week old baby and not quite ready for immunization he was at a party with our parents. Without realizing it, they exposed him to whooping cough (pertussis) from a child who had yet to develop symptoms. Within a week Kevin was in hospital and my parents were told that he probably wouldn't survive.
Kevin had developed a horrible cough and at some point because of the illness, had not received enough oxygen to his brain. My parents were given the option of having him transferred to a higher level of care or letting "nature take its course". They chose to have him remain at our local hospital, close to family and friends. My brother Kevin is now in his 50s and living in a care facility. He grew up being referred to as "retarded" and was treated poorly by the children in our community.
I wish I could impart the importance of immunization to the young parents out there who make the choice to go without immunizing their children. Kevin as well as our entire family were forever impacted by this illness. My parents have both passed away so it falls on my siblings and myself to care for and look out for my older brother. He has a wonderful life but it would have been so much more if he had been given the opportunity to live it in good health.