Autopsy reveals cause of death for Greenwood Lake toddler who died 2 days after routine ‘well-visit’
News 12 has obtained a copy of the autopsy results for a Greenwood Lake 15-month-old who died two days after receiving several vaccines at a routine well visit.
The child’s mother, Katherine Palombi, 35, provided the document that shows the toddler, Melody Rain Palombi-Malgren, died Oct. 19, 2023 from complications of chronic Kawasaki disease and had the flu.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Kawasaki disease, although rare, is the “leading cause of aquired heart disease” among children under the age of 5 in the United States. It lists the onset of symptoms as a rash, fever, redness of the eyes, irritation of the mouth, throat and lips and swelling of the face.
Palombi says Melody Rain had a rash and high fever at 2 months old and provided News 12 with photos she took documenting the condition at the time. The mother says she brought the then-infant to her pediatrician at Herbert Kania Pediatric Group in Warwick, as well as St. Anthony’s Hospital in Warwick and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, but was never diagnosed with the disease and seemingly got better after two weeks.
“My child was seen by five different doctors and the Kawasaki disease was never detected. I was told she had a virus.”
Palombi says Melody Rain was subsequently seen by her pediatrician in Warwick on Oct. 17 during a routine well visit and, appearing healthy, was administered three vaccines for DTap (diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough), Hib (Haemophilus influenza type B) and varicella (chicken pox).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists those vaccines among the 10 routine vaccinations that are recommended for 15-month-olds.
The toddler stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest two days later, according to the child’s mother, and was brought to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Warwick where she was pronounced dead.
Hospital records Palombi provided News 12 show the baby suffered liver and kidney failure, as well as cardiac arrest.
Serious complications of Kawasaki disease include coronary artery problems and aneurysms, according to the CDC.
“People say it gets better,” says Palombi. “Every day that goes by, just looking at her belongings and seeing her things, it’s like she could be here today if this was not undetected the way she was. She had every symptom at 2 months old.”
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommends children with Kawasaki avoid vaccinations for chicken pox (varicella), and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) for 11 months after treatment for the disease.
Palombi says she’s hired an attorney and plans to file a medical malpractice suit against the physicians and hospitals that cared for her daughter.
News 12 reached out to the Herbert Kania Pediatric Group and WMC Health for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
The Herbert Kania Pediatric Group previously declined to comment when News 12 first reported on the child’s death last November.
For more information on Kawasaki disease visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.