A state investigation is shedding new light on what happened to 10-year-old Peyton Mccaughey. His family says he's suffering from brain damage after being exposed to pesticides. The young boy is bedridden in a Miami Hospital where he's been since August 17, one day after his family was cleared to return to its Palm City home following fumigation.
The Mccaughey family originally hired Terminix to fumigate their home August 14. Then Terminix subcontracted the job to Sunland Pest Control based in West Palm Beach. The dual investigation by Florida's Departments of Agriculture and Health determined the Mccaughey family was cleared by Sunland to return to their home on Sunday August 16. The only way to insure the deadly pesticides used in a fumigation are gone, according to the state report, is to test the homes air using sophisticated equipment. That equipment must be calibrated every 30 days. The Department of Agriculture inspected the two devices Sunland uses. The report shows "neither of them were in working order." The report doesn't say whether or not Sunland even tried to use those devices in the Mccaughey's home, but it does say they were in such poor condition they may actually have been dangerous to use.
The gas used in home fumigations is called sulfuryl flouride. It's made by two different companies and sold under the name "Vikane" or "Zythor."
In order to purchase this chemical, the state report says the manufacturers require fumigators to participate in a stewardship program to make sure they are properly trained.
The state's report says Sunland has not participated in the programs. As a result, we're learning that Sunland has lost it's ability to purchase sulfuryl flouride from both manufacturers.
The Department of Health handled the investigation into Peyton Mccaughey's condition. The DOH report says investigators did countless interviews, reviewed all available medical documents and consulted with specialists. In the end, the report rules out all other potential causes of Peyton's brain damage. It also paints a vivid picture of the nightmare his whole family went through.
The Mccaughey's returned to their Palm City home on Sunday august 16. Just hours after Sunland Pest Control finished fumigating and deemed it safe to return.
By early evening, the report says Peyton started vomiting. His mother developed the same symptoms shortly after.
By six Monday morning, investigators say Peyton's father, sister and grandmother we're all vomiting.
Three hours later, at nine Monday morning, Peyton's mother took him and his sister to the emergency room. All three were diagnosed with chemical inhalation.
Peyton's mother and sister recovered and were released that day. The report says Peyton displayed an altered mental status, slurred speech and loss of body control. Because of his severe condition he was transferred to a hospital in Miami where he has been ever since.
As a result of this case, Florida's Department of Agriculture says its Inspector General's office is thoroughly evaluating all pest control companies' fumigations in order to determine whether there are any regulatory changes that can be made to prevent a similar situation.
The Department of Agriculture also says its investigation is ongoing as it continues to build its case against Sunland Pest Control.
In the meantime, Sunland's license has been officially suspended by the state. A lawsuit filed by attorney's representing the Mccaughey family list Terminix and Sunland Pest Control as defendants.
The family is seeking damages to help pay for Peyton's 24-hour care needs that may continue for the rest of the ten-year-old's life.
Repeated attempts by NewsChannel 5 to contact Sunland Pest Control by phone and in person have been unsuccessful.
Terminix has offered a statement saying its "heart goes out to the family" but it cannot comment further as a result of the pending litigation.