Peyton McCaughey’s family did not realize when they decided to fumigate their home for termites that it would change the little boy’s life forever. He is now in a hospital bed with brain damage, and the tragic circumstances surrounding his illness are making national headlines.
According to WTVR, the McCaughey called in Sunland Pest Control to fumigate their home in Palm City, Florida, last month. The company, a subcontractor for Terminix, had the family leave their home for two days, so that they could get tent the structure as a part of their treatment.
The fumigator informed the family that they could return home two days later, and the McCaughey family did so with the belief that all was well and safe for their return.
Not all was well, though.
Lori and Carl McCaughey and their two children became ill soon after their return home. Lori, Carl, and their seven-year-old daughter recovered quickly, but Peyton steadily became worse. At this time, he is unable to control his limbs, and he has trouble speaking.
Since the fumigation, the little boy has been in three hospitals for treatment. He is now in another hospital where specialists are working to get him well. Scans show brain damage, and doctors linked the cause to fumigation poisoning.
An attorney for the family, Brian Williams, spoke about the boy’s condition. He said, “He has traumatic brain injury and loss of motor skills. The rest of the family is fine, thank God. The little boy is not fine.”
Because of the extended medical stay, the family is facing increasing medical bills. The boy’s uncle started a GoFundMe page to pay for Peyton’s care and related expenses. His parents and grandparents are close by to Peyton 24 hours a day, and the new facility he is at is far from home. This means the family is not able to work while they focus on caring for Peyton.
Peyton’s uncle gave a full update on the boy’s condition on the page. At the time of this posting, more than 53,000 has been raised.
“The part of Peyton’s brain that controls motor skills has been negatively affected. At first, we were hopeful it was only swelling. A recent MRI suggests there is brain damage. He is unable to control his limbs. He has uncontrollable twitching and flopping. He is unable to feed himself, but his appetite is improving. His speech is severely compromised. Even though he knows what he wants to say, he cannot control his muscles to speak the words. At times, he becomes very frustrated. There is hope, however. He seems to have retained his personality and cognitive skills. Being young, he may be able to reroute the messages through other parts of his brain to regain some of his motor skills. But, he has to relearn them through a lengthy process consisting of daily physical and occupational therapy.”
Since the family’s story went public, the Department of Justice has filed an investigation. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has issued a stop word order to Sunland Pest Control, as well. According to WBVF, the department released a statement on Friday that said, “We are aware of the tragic and heartbreaking incident involving Peyton, and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is investigating Sunland Pest Control in collaboration with the EPA and the Department of Health.”
On Sunday, three players from the Miami Dolphins took the time to visit Peyton at Miami’s Children Hospital, according to WPTV. Lamar Williams shared photo of the players with the little boy on his Twitter account, and it is obvious to see the difference in Peyton from his photo shared on the Peyton Recovery page and this new photo snapped on Sunday.
— Lamar Miller (@millertime_6) September 6, 2015
During the visit, the players signed autographs and spoke with Peyton, his friend, and others in the hospital. They brought Peyton gifts, including signed football, jersey, teddy bear, and other items.
After the visit, a member of the family posted a thank you to the players on Facebook.
“HUGE SHOUT OUT to the Miami Dolphins and players Lamar Miller, Jarvis Landry, and Olivier Vernon for visiting Peyton and his neighbor at the hospital this afternoon. Let’s not forget to thank Odell Beckham Jr for joining the Jarvis Landry on a FaceTime call with Peyton! Our family can’t thank these generous men enough for lifting Peyton’s spirits!”
Fumigation poisoning can happen. A page at Termites.com shares the risks from poisoning that are possible.
“Sulfuryl fluoride is slightly toxic to humans who inhale it. At high concentrations or following extended periods of exposure, termite fumigation gases can lead to death. Termite fumigators use a few different techniques to minimize human exposure and secure the house, including tear gas and locks and barricades on entryways. Sulfuryl fluoride is an odorless and colorless gas, which can increase the likelihood of accidental inhalation.”
This is not the first case of fumigation poisoning to make national headlines in recent months. According to CNN, a family of four from Delaware became ill during a trip to Virgin Islands in March. The EPA was called in to investigate the location, and traces of methyl bromide were found in the family’s villa. Terminix was also involved in the fumigation of the villa before the family’s arrival on March 18.
Judith A. Enck, a regional administrator for the EPA, spoke about this case.
“Pesticides can be very toxic, and it is critically important that they be applied properly and used only as approved by EPA. The EPA is actively working to determine how this happened and will make sure steps are taken to prevent this from happening to others at these vacation apartments or elsewhere.”
The investigation into Peyton’s case is still ongoing. At this time, he has at least months to regain the abilities he has lost since the fumigation of his family home last month.
What do you think of Peyton’s story?
[Photo via Facebook]