An infant has tragically died after sustaining fatal injuries during the stormy tornadoes that ravaged neighborhoods in Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee over the weekend. Two-month-old Oaklynn Koon was taken off a ventilator at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville on Monday morning as her injuries were beyond healing, reports ABC affiliate WHAS11.
On the fateful night of the tornado, her father, Douglas Koon, drove his three children, including Oaklynn, and wife, Jackie, to his mother-in-law’s home in Dawson Springs thinking it was safer. When the devastating tornadoes hit, Koon strapped Oaklynn to her car seat and the entire family took cover in a bathroom. But the force of the windstorm was such that it pulled out the family from their home and hurled them across the street.
“We felt it was more protection for her,” said Koon. “Then all of a sudden as if time stood still. It felt like you were being tossed around like a rag doll in a sack. It felt somebody was standing and hitting me with a baseball repeatedly and you can’t hear anything but destruction.” Koon eventually managed to get on his feet and tend to his family members one by one.
His mother-in-law, 11-year-old son, Bentley – who has autism – and four-year-old son, Dallas, were all buried under debris. Bentley was transported to a hospital in Indiana for treatment as his head was bleeding. He has since been released. Meanwhile, his mother-in-law suffered a big gash on her forehead and was found twisted with metal and wood.
Kind strangers helped pick the injured members and drove them to a nearby school for aid. As for Oaklynn, she was taken to Baptist Health Deaconess in Madisonville but only treated for minor cuts and scratches during the initial visit. “Her heart rate and blood pressure were fine, CT scan results were fine, and the x-rays looked fine. Then later she was getting up and making grunting noises and something not right with her, so my wife took her back,” shared Koon.
It was during the second visit that they found a bleed in Oaklynn’s brain and immediately transferred her to the Louisville hospital. Unfortunately, her condition became worse overnight as internal bleeding had caused further brain injury. Doctors told the family that baby Oaklynn would be brain dead for the rest of her life and that it was likely she wouldn’t make it as her brain continued swelling.
This is when her parents made the toughest decision of their life: putting her off the ventilator. “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 the grieving father. “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 GoFundMe page has been set up for the family.