Life support

Clayton, 26, on life support, needs both lung transplants; vaccination status could thwart surgery | Health issues

CLAYTON – Kyle Whiting has been on life support for just over a month, hoping to get both lung transplants, but it’s his immunization status that stands in the way.

Mr Whiting, a 26-year-old who grew up in Adams and now lives in Clayton, was due to be married about a month ago. He tested positive for COVID-19 in October and was placed on a ventilator and an ECMO machine – an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation device to oxygenate blood outside the body and inject it back.

Just as the coronavirus virus appears to be acting, her recovery has taken one step forward and two back. His mother, Shalene Whiting, and his fiancee, Reba Gushlaw, have not been able to speak to him since he has been in St. Joseph’s Hospital. With the ventilator and the ECMO machine, there is a tube in his trachea, and he is given paralyzing drugs, which is medically induced paralysis.

One week, Mr. Whiting will make headway, once at the point where the ventilator has been removed for almost two hours, and the ECMO machine has been reduced to its lowest setting. Next week, he will confirm doctors’ determination that he is the sickest person in the hospital, Ms Whiting said. His oxygen levels will drop and he will be placed back on the ventilator and ECMO machine.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride,” Ms. Whiting said. “Every day you don’t know what you’re going to get. Anything can happen any minute, and it’s like that all the time. There have been good days and bad days, and there have been many more bad days.

The problem is his lungs, and the goal is to make them just strong enough for him to qualify for the double lung transplant.

His vaccination status stands in his way and that of his family.

Mr Whiting was not vaccinated when he tested positive for COVID-19, and his family say he still cannot get the vaccine due to the treatment he received. His mother said he couldn’t get the vaccine for 90 days since he underwent antibody treatment. Well, they want him to have the transplant in two weeks, and they said most hospitals won’t do it on an unvaccinated person.

His mother and fiancee called into hospitals and found a few who will, but for that he will have to be transported. It can be extremely dangerous to move a patient who is on an ECMO machine, hence the paralytic drug.

Ms Whiting said it almost felt like her son was being doubled because he had not been vaccinated. She knows his condition could have been less severe if he had been vaccinated, but he is also 26 and seriously ill with the virus despite his age and no underlying conditions. She thinks this is an outlier, regardless of her vaccination status.

Either way, they feel the pressure that he was not vaccinated before his initial diagnosis, and now they feel it again with the difficulty of finding a hospital to do the operation.

“It’s a feeling we have,” she said.

Although Ms. Whiting and Ms. Gushlaw still could not speak with Mr. Whiting, at times he was able to blink or nod at a question.

“Kyle’s still here,” she said. “But it got a lot worse. The doctor told me Kyle had a small chance to recover. The stars should align, and he needs a miracle, that’s exactly what she told me. said.

In the meantime, they have to wait and see what happens. They stay in a nearby hotel and visit him every day. They have hope and the marriage is called off. Mr. Whiting is expected to be 27 in two weeks, just before he receives new lungs.

“The alternative is not acceptable,” Ms. Whiting said. “He’s going to be okay, that’s all there is to it.”

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