Seven-month-old twins Cienna and Onyx Neidigh of Port Townsend are recovering from respiratory syncytial virus at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Tacoma. Their parents, Clayton Neidigh and Barbara Hansen, are reaching out to the community for financial assistance. – Photo by Clayton Neidigh
By Jeff Chew
Peninsula Daily News
PORT TOWNSEND — Seven-month-old twins Ceinna and Onyx Neidigh are fighting a potentially deadly respiratory virus that doctors say was contracted through exposure to black mold in a Port Townsend rental home.
Parents Clayton Neidigh, a chef at the Silverwater Cafe, and his partner, Barbara Hansen, a drug and alcohol counselor for the schools countywide, said their babies are being treated for respiratory syncytial virus at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Tacoma.
They have been there since December.
“It’s getting better,” Neidigh said Monday.
“They’re on the upswing. They’ve still got a cough. RSV is hitting hard this year, the doctor said.”
The illness has been costly for the couple, who between them have four other children.
“The only thing they have been able to give them is pure oxygen,” he said, and the cost of traveling to and from the hospital has cost them at least $1,000 more than their family budget can withstand.
That is why they have taken out an account in the twins’ names at Quimper Community Federal Credit Union, 1165 Landes Court in Port Townsend, behind the Safeway store where donations can be made.
Commutes to hospital
Neidigh, an Army veteran who served six years, said he frequently drives to and from the hospital so he can work.
The owners of the Silverwater Cafe have been highly flexible with the family’s predicament, he said, praising Alison Hero and her business partner, David Hero, for their kindness and understanding.
The family was in the middle of moving when the twins became ill.
Neidigh said Olympic Community Action Programs is helping them find a new rental, possibly putting up the family temporarily at the Bayshore Motel in Brinnon until a new home can be established.
Respiratory syncytial virus, which causes infection of the lungs and breathing passages, is a major cause of respiratory illness in young children.
In adults, it may only produce symptoms of a common cold, such as a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, mild headache, cough, fever and a general feeling of being ill.
But in premature babies and children with diseases that affect the lungs, heart, or immune system, RSV infections can lead to more serious illnesses.
Respiratory illness caused by RSV – such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia – usually lasts about a week, but some cases it may last several weeks.
Neidigh said the twins were so infected “that the doctor thought they have been in the house seven years.”
The couple’s other children are staying with family members, including a grandmother, he said.
Political Action Committee – National Apartment Association (NAA) files Amicus Brief in mold case (two infant deaths in mold filled apt – Wasatch Prop Mgmt) citing US Chamber/ACOEM ‘litigation defense report’ to disclaim health effects of indoor mold & limit financial risk for industry
“Changes in construction methods have caused US buildings to become perfect petri dishes for mold and bacteria to flourish when water is added. Instead of warning the public and teaching physicians that the buildings were causing illness; in 2003 the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, a think-tank, and a workers comp physician trade organization mass marketed an unscientific nonsequitor to the courts to disclaim the adverse health effects to stave off liability for financial stakeholders of moldy buildings. Although publicly exposed many times over the years, the deceit lingers in US courts to this very day.” Sharon Noonan Kramer
Information on Riverstone Residential, the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, and the owners of Toxic Mold Infested Jefferson Lakes Apartments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana continuing to allow tenants to be exposed to extreme amounts of mold toxins