Caleb Jensen was only 15 years-old when he died. Sources report that he was hiking with a group of campers when he collapsed. It is reported that he died at the scene as counselors tried to revive him. When EMS arrived he was dead. The Mesa County Coroner’s Office autopsy revealed he died from a methicillin-resistant Staph aureus infection.


News stories report that a Montrose County grand jury has file negligent homicide charges against Alternative Youth Adventures, the organization’s administrators and several individuals involved in this case. The Alternative Youth Adventures, reportedly, is a boot-camp like youth program for children.  


Historically at the turn of the century, infection was the number one cause of death in children. Now that a national immunization program and improved sanitation have effectively eliminated or reduced many serious communicable diseases, infection rates have dropped considerably and child mortality rates from disease has improved tremendously. Infant and child mortality from infection has significantly decreased over the last century. Children in the United States are rarely dying from measles, rubella, polio, plague, cholera, typhoid, paratyphoid and gastroenteritis, etc… Child mortality rate is decreased due to the progress of medical technology in providing improved support and treatment during the course of infection. Managing influenza still remains a feature of modern life. Fortunately, parents are not suffering the loss of their children to infection as they once were. Other socio-economic factors such as the implementation of public health policy, immunization programs and industrial progress have resulted in successful distribution of preventative and curative measures through greater transportation, advancing medical technology, access to nutritional resources, improved health care delivery and social programs. Medical breakthroughs with antimicrobial therapy, such as with the use of antibiotics, anti-fungal and antiviral medications have significantly improved child mortality rates from infection. The community has benefitted considerably from emphasis on improved hygiene and modern sanitation methods as well. So there are many factors that have positively impacted the health of children in the United States. With a majority of children surviving past infancy, modern dilemmas have evolved. Infections related to lifestyle and co-existing medical conditions are currently targeted as future medical conquests. Currently infections from HIV, prions, opportunistic organisms, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and sexually transmitted diseases currently occupy the medical and social battle front and generally exert a negative effect on the health of older children. As serious as these infections are, they are not the number one cause of death in older children.  


However, children may only benefit from modern medicine when they have access to it and are treated appropriately.  


Christopher Keane
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California Child Abuse and Child Injury Lawyer
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