By: Patti Weaver
(Stillwater, Okla.) — Child neglect charges have been dropped against a Stillwater couple who were accused of failing to provide specialized medical care for their premature infant, who was later placed in the custody of the Department of Human Services.
On a prosecutor’s request, Associate District Judge Stephen Kistler dismissed the charges last week against Alexus Anne Cook, 20, and Chad Austin Jackman, 21, court records show.
The couple were arrested last March on charges related to their premature baby for allegedly “failing to make and keep medical appointments, properly administer prescribed medications or utilize an apnea monitory,” 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, an affidavit alleged.
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 healthy, 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 was 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’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, “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.