Orange County 15-month-old dies 2 days after 'well-visit' vaccinations
Melody Rain Palombi-Malmgren was a happy toddler with an infectious smile and laugh. She loved to dance, cuddle, and sit in her swing.
In July, the little girl celebrated her first birthday, but no one could have imagined it’d also be her last.
“Everything about her was just pure joy,” says Melody’s mother, Katherine Palombi. “I’m in complete shock. This is a child that was perfectly healthy.”
Palombi says she brought Melody to her pediatrician's office, the Herbert Kania Pediatric Group in Warwick, on Oct. 17 for her 15-month well-visit where she received three vaccines. Two days later, without showing any signs that anything was wrong, Palombi says her daughter stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest.
“It was the most horrible day of my life. I got to work. She waved goodbye to me that morning and then my mother called saying she was having trouble breathing. I just kept saying, she just had vaccines, she just had vaccines,” says Palombi.
Melody was brought to St. Anthony’s Hospital by ambulance. She says the child's grandmother, who was caring for her that day, was instructed by 911 to perform CPR until paramedics could arrive. She says emergency medical personnel and hospital staff attempted lifesaving measures for several hours to no avail.
“They brought me in the room, and I saw her laying there,” recalls Palombi. “They said time of death 11:13. I just completely hit the floor. I completely passed out.”
Hospital records obtained by News 12 show the baby suffered liver and kidney failure, as well as cardiac arrest.
News 12 reached out to the Herbert Kania Pediatric Group, but they declined to comment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says up to 10 vaccines are recommended for 15-month-olds and Melody’s medical records show she had three - for varicella, DTaP and Hib.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information says allergic reactions to vaccines are rare and are caused by either the vaccine itself or components - like egg and gelatin, and less frequently, yeast or latex.
The NCBI reports that the average rate for immediate reactions to vaccines, with a range in symptoms from mild to fatal, in children and adolescents is .22 per 100,000 doses. It documented that delayed reactions can be seen 48-96 hours after a vaccination but that symptoms are typically considered harmless.
Melody’s autopsy is pending.
Palombi says her daughter was previously hospitalized with a high fever and body rash after receiving routine vaccines at 2 months old but claims physicians told her then it was likely a virus rather than an allergic reaction.
The child’s mother says she believes in both instances that the vaccines were too much for her daughter’s body to handle.
“Trust your gut and don’t let them push anything on to your children that you don’t want to do,” says Palombi. “I just want to spread awareness in Melody’s name. Maybe she can save other children.”
Extended interview with Katherine Palombi