By Patti Weaver
(Stillwater, Okla.) — A Stillwater couple accused of failing to provide specialized medical care for their premature infant, who was later placed in DHS custody, have been released from the Payne County Jail with an order to appear in court on charges of child neglect.
Alexus Anne Cook, who is pregnant with another child, and Chad Austin Jackman, both 20, were told by Special Judge Katherine Thomas that their release was conditioned on Cook’s receiving prenatal care or at least having an appointment by their March 26 court date.
The couple were arrested last week on charges related to their premature baby for allegedly “failing to make and keep medical appointments, properly administer prescribed medications or utilize an apnea monitor,” all as ordered by medical professionals, court records show.
Stillwater Police Investigator Kyle Bruce was contacted on Oct. 15, 2018, by a Child Protective Services worker regarding medical neglect of an infant, who was born at 28 weeks and transferred to St. Francis Children’s NICU in Tulsa, an affidavit said.
The day before the baby was discharged, his parents received training for an infant apnea monitor that the baby was required to wear on a doctor’s order, the affidavit alleged.
“The device has a large label with a 24-hour contact number affixed to the top of the machine,” the affidavit said.
The parents were told to schedule an appointment with a specific doctor “as soon as possible for a visit in two days,” the affidavit alleged.
When the Child Protective Services worker contacted the family eight days after the baby’s discharge from the hospital, the baby had not been seen by a doctor, but appeared to be healthy, the affidavit alleged.
The baby’s father told the worker she could return the next day for a more in-depth interview, but when the worker went back to the apartment on the following two days, no one would answer the door, the affidavit alleged.
A week later, when the worker talked to the baby’s father at their apartment, the baby was present and not wearing his apnea monitor, the affidavit alleged.
The baby’s father told the worker that the baby “did not need to see the doctor until his four-month shots were due,” the affidavit alleged.
When the baby’s father was asked if they had started Sooner Start services, “Jackman said they were waiting for a callback,” but the worker had been told before the interview that the family had declined Sooner Start, the affidavit alleged.
Five days later, the worker left a voicemail for Jackman — asking for an update on the baby’s medical needs and emphasizing the baby was to see a pediatrician within two days of discharge from the hospital, the affidavit alleged.
“A Sooner Care nurse manager became involved in the case and scheduled (the baby’s) first pediatric appointment at Stillwater Pediatrics for Oct. 5, 2018,” which was 34 days after the baby had been discharged from the Tulsa hospital, the affidavit alleged.
When the baby was examined that day, the baby “had been taken off the apnea monitor by the parents without consulting a doctor,” the affidavit alleged.
The baby’s father told the doctor “the device was broken, and they took it back to get a new one, but decided to take him off the machine,” the affidavit alleged.
The baby’s next appointment was cancelled by his mother, who refused to reschedule it, the affidavit alleged.
The doctor then contacted the Child Protective Services worker due to concern for the baby — writing “Death could have been a foreseeable outcome of this decision in that apnea had started getting more severe,” the affidavit alleged.
The Child Protective Services worker then petitioned the court for the baby’s custody, which was granted, the affidavit said.
When the baby was taken for a medical examination, the baby “had a ‘hair tourniquet’ around one of his toes,” wrapped so tightly that it caused a laceration around the toe, the affidavit alleged.
The baby’s tongue tie had been ripped, which the doctor said “could have been caused by something hard being shoved into his mouth,” such as a pacifier, bottle or even a medical syringe, the affidavit alleged. When the baby was admitted into the hospital for observation, he had “a 10-second apnea event during the hospitalization,” the affidavit alleged.
When the baby’s father was interviewed on Nov. 7, 2018, at his apartment, Jackman said he had called the company and was waiting for them to send a replacement apnea machine, the affidavit alleged.
However the company owner and technician said “they did not receive a call from Jackman,” the affidavit alleged. “If they had, they would have attempted to troubleshoot over the phone. If the machine was still not working, they would have delivered a new device in person,” which they said they do 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the affidavit alleged.
When the police detective provided the apnea machine to the company to see if they could download the data history, “The employee attempted to download the device and said it appeared to have been dropped and was broken. A system check was performed, and even though the machine was broken, it still would have detected an apnea event and provided an audible alert,” the affidavit alleged.