‘It’s terrifying:’ Lubbock boy battling RSV as cases rise higher, faster than normal this year

Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 10:55 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Covenant Children’s Hospital is reporting more Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases than usual this year and they’re coming earlier than normal. The rise follows a national trend, with several hospitals across the country needing more beds.

Many are calling the situation a ‘tripledemic,’ as COVID-19 protocols are relaxed, flu season begins, and RSV cases are on the rise. As of Friday, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 75% of America’s pediatric hospital beds are filled. In Texas, that rate is at 91 percent.

RSV is a common respiratory virus but can be serious for infants and older adults. Becca and Nate’s son, Crosby Webb, is in the hospital with RSV for the second time this year. This time, he’s been at Covenant Children’s for more than two weeks, riding a rollercoaster of setbacks and healing.

“It’s terrifying, I don’t know another word for it. RSV, even if you don’t have a bad case and you’re hospitalized, it’s terrifying. To watch your child struggle to breathe is beyond what I can even explain in words,” Becca said.

CEO at Covenant Children’s, Dr. Amy Thompson, says patients are filling up beds earlier than normal and more are needing critical care.

“But really it’s the ICU beds right now that are kind of coming into, you know, they’re full. The state of Texas specifically has had a large increase in the ICU beds for RSV,” she said.

Dr. Thompson says Covenant can take care of the patients coming in, but other regions across the state are calling looking for extra ICU beds. She says with the increase, she feels like her staff is having capacity management meetings every morning.

“So, really where the majority of our phone calls are coming is from those regional areas and our ability to take those kids into Lubbock. So, that’s really when we talk about capacity management, those are the things that we’re trying to address every, you know, every morning about how we can make sure that we can take care of the patients in the region,” Dr. Thompson said.

With more kids coming in with severe illnesses, Dr. Thompson says wait times in the ER are being affected. If your child is experiencing respiratory distress, she says you should head there. That can include when nasals are flaring or retracting, and when children are breathing heavily and you can see them using their stomach muscles to push air in and out.

“If you’re seeing signs like that, you for sure need to go to either an urgent care or an emergency room. Kind of just that general snotty nose, that’s not necessarily causing a lot of the breathing difficulty, that is when you should call your PCP [Primary care physician],” she said.

Webb says her family has received support on their journey from staff, family members, and her church family. She wants to support other parents with a warning: trust your gut.

“It’s just not worth waiting when you’re in RSV season. It’s too important. It can go downhill too quickly. I’m at the point now where I’ve learned just don’t question it. Don’t get everybody’s opinion. Don’t ask every mom’s opinion. Just go and trust your gut as their parent,” Webb said.

Crosby is now on a low flow of oxygen and should get to go home in the next few days. On Tuesday night, friends are hosting a fundraiser to help financially support his family during this time.

Family and friends hosting fundraiser for the Webb family.
Family and friends hosting fundraiser for the Webb family.(Monterey Church of Christ)