Arkansas 1-year-old boy back home after weeks-long COVID-19 hospitalization in Springfield

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 9:27 PM CDT
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - A one-year-old boy is back home with his family after spending a few weeks hospitalized in Springfield with COVID-19.

Carter Butrum and his mother spent many days isolated and alone at Cox South as he received care around the clock.

The Harrison toddler has improved quite a bit since his time at Cox, but he is still not yet quite back to his full self. The smiles and laughs that his parents had missed are now back. Carter is also back with all of his fun toys, which now once again fill the Butrum household with lights, sounds and all sorts of musical tones.

“He’s definitely excited to be home and be playing again,” Carter’s father Kyle Butrum laughed.

But just a few weeks ago it was a completely different story. The family had many restless nights after Carter got sick at daycare.

“Definitely that last 24 hours where he just really took a turn for the worse,” his mother Amanda McKinney said. “[He] wasn’t sleeping, the breathing was really short and fast, coughing a lot and sneezing a lot.”

Carter did not test positive for COVID at first. But then the startling realization came true -- he did in fact have the virus. He eventually tested positive for COVID-19 at the ER after his symptoms had gotten much worse.

He then required emergency care at Cox South in Springfield.

“The first three days were probably the hardest days,” McKinney said. “His fever was getting up to 104. He wasn’t awake most of the day. I mean, you’re helpless. There’s not much you can do. You’re sitting there and everybody’s trying to help him and he doesn’t know what’s going on.”

Carter’s mother said it was a lonesome and frightening experience.

“He’s scared and you’re both scared,” she said. “And at that point, I mean, your husband can’t come in and help you.”

McKinney said his condition changed on an almost daily basis.

“All he knows is he’s struggling to breathe,” she said. “And now all these scary people around me, which is the hardest thing you can do as a parent when you literally have no way or shape of helping your baby.”

Similar feelings existed back home for Carter’s father and sister. The two could not be with him.

“It’s like, the most helpless kind of feeling,” Kyle Butrum said. “I mean, there’s just nothing you can do. There’s nothing you can do to help or even comfort him.”

His mother said “every day was scary” in the hospital. A few weeks later, Carter now no longer requires Oxygen and has been cleared of any signs of pneumonia. His parents said they are incredibly thankful, and know the outcome could have been different.

“He’s home now, but unfortunately, the reality is not every kid’s going to get to come home,” Carter’s father said. “That’s not a feeling I want anyone to go through.”

While he is happily bouncing back around again, his parents still have a message. “

“A lot of people don’t want to get vaccinated,” McKinney said. “They think it’s people taking their rights from them. And that’s not the case. It’s people losing their lives versus taking your rights. I would much rather be alive than not be vaccinated and then go into hospital.”

“Those that can, you know, need to do everything that they can in order to protect the other children so that another baby doesn’t end up in the hospital,” Butrum said. “Every member of the community has to help out the other members of the community. That’s what community is.”

The family said they want people to know the virus does not discriminate.

“It doesn’t matter how old they are,” Butrum said. “It doesn’t matter where you live and what state you’re in. Health wise, you know, you can be a perfectly healthy adult and contract it and for whatever reason end up extremely sick.”

While Carter’s health is improving, his parents said they are still taking extra caution.

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