Carroll boy to be taken off life support

Child, 2 1/2, was injured in incident at lake

July 21, 1999|By Mike Farabaugh and Jennifer Sullivan | Mike Farabaugh and Jennifer Sullivan,SUN STAFF

Weary from lack of sleep and a broken heart, Mark Jasper spoke softly yesterday about his only son, Davon. He had spent most of the day in silence, thinking about the 2 1/2-year-old who was attached to life support after nearly drowning Monday while on a field trip in Carroll County with his day care center.

By 8 p.m. last night, Jasper and family members had made the final gut-wrenching decision, asking doctors to remove life support from Davon William Jasper, allowing him to die and donating his vital organs to others.

The state medical examiner will have to make the official confirmation of death, he said.

Early today, the boy remained on life support, hospital officials said.

Earlier, Jasper wept as he described the boy and beamed through his tears as he reminisced about the past weekend spent with Davon. But this was one of the only smiles the 36-year-old had to offer yesterday.

Jasper dropped his son off at a West Baltimore day care center Monday morning and received a message about 4 p.m. that the boy had been admitted to Carroll County General Hospital.

He was only at the Westminster hospital for a few hours, Jasper said, and was flown to Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.

State and local officials will investigate to determine "whether the child was properly supervised" by the day care provider, said Alan L. Katz, assistant director for the Carroll County Department of Social Services.

The little boy from the Forest Park area of northwest Baltimore was missing and presumably submerged for about 20 to 25 minutes before being pulled from 5 to 8 feet of water, said Tfc. Andrew Eways of the Westminster barracks.

Witnesses have told investigators that the child arrived at a popular picnic and swimming area at Cascade Lake with a group of 31 children supervised by a handful of adults, possibly from three home child care providers.

Davon, who turned 2 in December, was in critical condition early today at Sinai Hospital, where family members have stood vigil since Monday evening.

Jasper said state police told him day care officials reported that the boy had been missing for more than 20 minutes when someone pulled him out of the lake.

The boy had been attending the day care center for more than a year and had never experienced problems, Jasper said. He said he had not spoken with the center's operators, adding that he was too upset to do so.

The West Baltimore day care provider, Basically Kids, could not be reached for comment last night.

Typically, a person of any age who is under water without oxygen for five minutes or more will suffer irreversible brain and lung damage, said Dr. John P. Straumanis, who works in the intensive care unit of the University of Maryland Hospital and is co-coordinator of the Baltimore chapter of the National Safe Kids Campaign.

Sun staff writer Brenda Buote contributed to this article.

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