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Meridian toddler struggles with RSV, flown to SLC to save his life

Posted at 6:30 PM, Nov 15, 2023

  • Cody Lee is a 2-year-old recovering from symptoms caused by RSV.
  • Cody had a collapsed lung and flew to Salt Lake City for treatment.
  • A new RSV drug called Beyfortus is a treatment that can help fight the virus but supply chain problems are making it hard to get the vaccine to kids.
  • The link to Cody's GoFundMe is here

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

"Cody is the best little boy ever," said Cassandra Lee, Cody’s mother.

It's a situation no mother wants to see their child in.

"About 2:00 in the morning on the 27th he woke up and couldn't breathe so I rushed him into the emergency room in Meridian," said Lee.

At St. Luke's hospital, Casandra Lee would learn her 2-year-old son Cody had a collapsed lung all caused by a common virus families see every year.

"There's no way I can lose my baby. It was just a cough and then it progressed to RSV and before we knew it, he had necrotizing pneumonia," said Lee.

RSV impacts hundreds of thousands of people every year. Over two point one million outpatient visits happen among children 5 years or younger, but this year a new treatment called Beyfortus hopes to drop those numbers.

"Absolutely thrilled about it because it has a long-acting affect, so it's supposed to last about five months so one injection lasting five months and you give it to an infant that's less than 8 months regardless of their prematurely or not," said Steven Smith, a local pediatric doctor.

But supply chain issues are keeping pediatric doctors in the Treasure Valley like Steven Smith from getting it to patients in need.

"Now because of its lack of availability, we have to kind of identify our higher risk patients that would have to receive it," said Smith.

That would apply for younger patients like newborns born prematurely. Cody just turned two.

“He just had his birthday and just two days later he was on life support, we didn't think he was going to make it,” said Lee.

Cassandra now firsthand sees how quickly things can turn and how serious RSV symptoms can become, hoping other parents take precautions.

“I would change places with him in a heartbeat. I cannot lose my baby over a cough,” said Lee.

Luckily for Cody, he's now out of the ICU and getting back to being a normal two-year-old like finger painting in his hospital bed, hopefully heading back to Idaho soon.