Monday, June 30, 2008

IBC Monday: In The News


VANCOUVER, BC -- A three-year-old Calgary girl was rushed to hospital
in Vancouver on Thursday morning after she accidentally drank
windshield-washer fluid she thought was water.

The driver of the limo, operated by Richmond, B.C.-based LimoJet Gold,
offered his passengers a blue plastic bottle, which he believed to
contain water.

Three-year-old Olivia Kittson, who had the flu, had just arrived in
town with her mother, Elisha, when she was sick to her stomach in the
back of the limo taking them from the airport to the condo they had

Olivia took a sip. But when the two arrived at the condo, Elisha drank
from the same bottle and realized it contained a toxic chemical.

According to her husband, Kelly, Elisha called a doctor and was told
to bring Olivia to B.C. Children's Hospital. "A tablespoon of this
stuff is considered extremely toxic," said Kelly, who is still in Calgary.

"I called the limo company that drove them and they confirmed it was
window-washer fluid," he said. "Some of the drivers, I guess, when
they have a little bit leftover from the big containers, they pour it
into these bottles."

Olivia underwent blood tests and was discharged, he said, but likely
had a long night of vomiting ahead of her. "Her liver can't process
the chemical," Kelly said.

"They want my wife to keep an eye on her and if things change, to
bring her back to the hospital."

Elisha was certain she spat out all of the washer fluid after she took
a sip, he said.

Carolyn Bauer, operations manager for LimoJet, said she feels
"absolutely awful" about what happened to Olivia. "I can't apologize
enough for the terror they must be feeling and the pain of seeing
their child in the hospital," she said.

When she heard what happened, Bauer said she went to the airport and
removed every water bottle from each of the company's vehicles.

"I told (the drivers): If a customer asks for water, just pull over
at a store," she said. "Don't give it out."

The driver, who has children, is devastated, Bauer said.

She hasn't questioned him yet about what happened and said she plans
to wait until he is in a better frame of mind. "I'm just going to
continue on the investigation," Bauer said.

"I've spoken with the mother many times. She's going to keep me
updated about the little girl."

Kelly, who is at home with his nine-month-old son, said the company's
owner apologized to their family and he's satisfied with how they
handled the incident.
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