Mom pleads for vaccinations as son, 3, battles COVID-19 in hospital

Published: Feb. 1, 2022 at 2:57 PM EST
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SALT LAKE CITY (KSL) - A mother is delivering another passionate plea for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after her 3-year-old son apparently caught the virus while at the hospital for a different medical issue.

Yvonne Francis told KSL she took her son Justin to the emergency room after he aspirated a small piece of an apple which triggered an asthma attack.

Justin was tested for COVID-19 two days in a row at the hospital and received negative results.

“They did a bronchoscope and saw that his lungs were just really full of secretions that he would have from like a virus or an infection,” Francis said. “That’s when they re-ran the panels and found out that he was positive.”

Justin tested positive for COVID-19, rhinovirus and adenovirus in addition to pneumonia and bacterial infections in his lungs.

He was sedated and intubated in the intensive care unit.

Family members remained symptom-free and tested negative for COVID-19 during the same time period, and doctors told Francis it’s more likely he caught it after being admitted.

“They really don’t know, but they said, you know, if no one else in our household catches it, it’s more likely that he caught it with his hospitalization,” Francis said.

Greg Bell with the Utah Hospital Association stressed that people shouldn’t be afraid to get emergency medical care at these facilities because of COVID-19.

“We take extreme precautions with cleanliness to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Bell said. “Hospitals are a very safe place, and people should go to the hospital when they need to.”

Francis said no matter where Justin caught it, they hope his story reminds people to get vaccinated so hospitals aren’t overrun with COVID-19 patients and the virus itself.

“If you are vaccinated, or if you are isolating, staying home, not exposing yourself, you probably won’t end up in an ER,” Francis said.

Justin has remained in the hospital for three weeks, but his doctors are hoping to send him home this week with medication.

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