WATERTOWN, WI - After losing her daughter at seven weeks old, a local mother is on a mission to spread awareness about the highly contagious, hard to diagnose respiratory tract infection, whooping cough.
“By the time she was finally diagnosed, it was well into the illness," said Kaitlyn Webster.
"I didn't know what to do anymore, I felt extremely helpless," she also said.
Just two weeks after her birth, Hailey Bruley developed what her mom, Kaitly Webster, initially thought was a common cold until doctor’s diagnosed Hailey with whooping cough. Hailey spent five weeks fighting the infection. One night she was running a fever then eventually stopped breathing.
“In that moment everything you know… you’re just blank," Kaitlyn said.
"You lose control, you have no idea what's going on," she also said.
Hailey was rushed to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. She developed pneumonia and bleeding in her brain and at seven weeks old she died.
“When I went there with my daughter and I left without my daughter, I didn’t feel like a mom anymore," Kaitlyn said.
"I [was a] first-time mom, and all of this is happening to me," Kaitlyn also said.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 51 of the 72 Wisconsin counties have reported cases of whooping cough this year. The highest numbers were reported in Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Dane counties.
"We need to make sure that everybody is vaccinated," said Dr. Lyn Ranta of Children's Hospital.
"The whooping cough vaccine is part of the routine childhood immunizations beginning at two months of age," Ranta also said.
After the loss of Hailey, Kaitlyn is also making it her mission to spread awareness about the vaccine. Not only does she have a Facebook page dedicated to her daughter’s life, but she’s also willing to educate new mother’s on the prevalence of the cough that can kill.