Baby Oaklynn Koon seemed fine initially but her health declined rapidly and it was found she had suffered a brain injury
A two-month-old baby succumbed to injuries sustained in the deadly tornadoes that swept through Kentucky becoming the youngest victim. Baby Oaklynn Koon had initially survived the storm when she and her family were thrown from their house, landing in their neighbor's patch, but she later died later from swelling in her brain, reported PEOPLE. The tornadoes had also swept through Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee last Friday and Saturday. The death toll stood at 74 as of Tuesday, said Governor Andy Beshear. Of the 74, twelve were children including Oaklynn Koo, reported Daily Beast.
Douglas Koon and his family had taken shelter in a bathroom in his mother-in-law's home as the tornado approached them. He knew his 2-month-old baby was the most vulnerable and strapped Oaklynn in a car seat. "We felt it was more protection for her," he said. Their house was flattened and powerful winds threw them across their home into their neighbor's patch. "It just picked us up and threw us around and landed us on the other side of the neighbor's house," said Douglas. He wrote about the incident on Facebook. "My poor babies. Nothing is more scarier than knowing a tornado is heading your way and hearing your kids freaked out and thinking we are going to die. You really never think you would be the one that goes through something like this. Man hold your loved ones tight," he wrote. Douglas said he felt "helpless in protecting my kids against it."
Douglas, his mother-in-law, wife Jackie, 11-year-old son Bentley and 4-year-old son Dallas were buried in the debris but didn't seem to suffer any serious injuries. They were treated at the hospital shortly after for cuts and bruises. Oaklynn had a few cuts as well but was doing well. The doctors checked her heart rate, blood pressure and they were all normal. There was nothing unusual about her X-ray and CT scan as well, reported WHAS11. However, her health declined later in the day and a test revealed that she suffered a brain injury resulting in internal bleeding causing the brain to swell. The doctors put the 2-month-old baby on life support but informed the parents that would be brain dead from the injuries.
Douglas didn't want to see his daughter suffer any longer and asked the doctors to remove her from life support. "I don't want to see my child suffer any longer than they have to because of me just trying to hold on to something that's not there," said Douglas. "I'm grateful to have at least two months. She was the cutest baby ever and had the biggest smile and most beautiful eyes."
A friend of the Koon family started a GoFundMe campaign to help them with the expenses. The campaign has raised over $110,000, crossing the $60,000 goal. Douglas was shaken by the tragedy. "My heart goes out to Dawson there are so many other people that are in need. This type of stuff makes me lose my faith because why would this tragedy happen. Why? I felt like I failed my baby and couldn’t protect everyone," he wrote on Facebook. "At least I know who will be watching over you up there for me. My dad. God this doesn’t seem real."
Governor Andy Beshear addressed the public on Tuesday “If there’s good news, it’s that our death count has not gone up since yesterday — and that is good news,” he said, reported Washington Post. “Again, each one a child of God irreplaceable in their community.” Beshear described it as "the worst tornado event" in Kentucky history. He also acknowledged that more than 100 people are still unaccounted for.
This is a developing story, and we’ll update as we learn more. Information about the Kentucky tornado is swiftly changing, and 'Lessons Learned in Life' is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication.
Cover image source: Facebook/douglas.koon.31