In a children's hospital, a wave of young patients struggling to breathe

Seeing the children in the rooms she cleans suffering, she said, was “overwhelming.” Behind her, sound screens monitoring children’s low...


Seeing the children in the rooms she cleans suffering, she said, was “overwhelming.”

Behind her, sound screens monitoring children’s low oxygen levels and alarming heart rates told the story.

Nearby, medical teams were watching over an intubated toddler. The patient eventually needed a rare treatment known as High Frequency Oscillatory Ventilation, which involves gentle vibrations that move air through the lungs. On Thursday, as the odds of survival wore off, a small crown was placed on the child’s head.

Down the hall there was better news: Junior’s condition was improving.

His path to intubation had been swift. Her 15-month-old sister caught what appeared to be a mild cold. Shortly after, Junior’s daycare reported that he was gagging when drinking from the bottle. The family’s pediatrician diagnosed him with RSV and prescribed albuterol, an asthma medication that had little effect on him.

A day later, Mme Perrilloux, who with her husband is fully vaccinated, drove him to the hospital. “As soon as I brought him in they noticed something was wrong right away,” she said. He tested positive for Covid-19 and had difficulty breathing even on a high-flow oxygen machine. He was intubated the next day.

Ms. Perrilloux started working the long days in the bedroom, to keep from shaking.

“You are sitting there, thinking, ‘What could I have done differently?’” She said.

Last week, Mrs. Perrilloux slept and ate in her son’s room. She held daily prayer sessions with her pastor and family. At bedtime, she gently straightened Junior’s curly brown hair to avoid interfering with the machinery that kept him alive. She positioned her chair to watch the monitors track her vital signs, wrapping herself in hospital blankets.

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Newsrust - US Top News: In a children's hospital, a wave of young patients struggling to breathe
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