Family struggles after 2 teens fall critically ill with COVID-19
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KOAT) - A New Mexico father is trying to stay strong for his family after two of his children became critically ill due to the coronavirus.
Over the past few weeks, Jason Baca has called the University of New Mexico Hospital his home. Two of his sons, 17-year-old Jason Lee Baca and 13-year-old Ayden Baca, are currently fighting for their lives in the facility’s pediatric intensive care unit.
The ordeal started Aug. 13 after multiple people within the family of nine started to feel sick and reported similar symptoms, including a runny nose and a headache. The sickness soon spread to the rest of the household.
Family members were tested by healthcare professionals, and most came back positive for COVID-19, Baca says. None of them had received a COVID-19 vaccination.
“We were in shock. I mean, within three days, it spread from one or two of us to everybody in the house,” Jason Baca said.
For six weeks, Jason Lee and Ayden Baca have undergone surgeries and utilized ventilators due to heart and breathing complications. The former was also diagnosed with pneumonia.
The boys’ mother, Renee Baca, says at one point, she was told her 13-year-old son wouldn’t make it.
“They said that he had a 0% chance of making it. They wanted me to say bye to him, and I said, ‘I’m not gonna say bye,’” she said.
Jason Baca says that while his sons remain in the pediatric ICU, they are getting better. He now wishes his family had gotten vaccinated prior to their illnesses.
“To see your kids in a bed, with that hose in their throat and not being able to breath on their own, that’s horrible,” he said. “There’s so little that you can do when you’re here. I mean, prayers are one of the main things that you can do, so I’ve been praying a lot.”
Renne Baca spent two weeks in the hospital with COVID-19 but recovered. Her mother, Sandra Moya, was admitted to the hospital but died from the virus.
“Now knowing how bad that my sons got and my wife got and that everybody was sick, I just think it’s more serious and that people need to take it a lot more seriously than they have been taking it,” Jason Baca said.
The family is praying for a full recovery for Jason Lee and Ayden.
Dr. Walter Dehority, an associate professor for the University of New Mexico’s Department of Pediatrics, says parents should get their children vaccinated against COVID-19 as they become eligible.
“We are finding more and more cases of severe COVID in children,” Dehority said. “Kids can come in and look like they have a cold, and several days later, they could be in the intensive care unit on life support. It can go from zero to 60 in a matter of days.”
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