Less than three months after welcoming twin boys, Amanda and Ed Bystran lost one of them to RSV — and now they hope their other son recovers from the same virus.
Amanda Bystron gave birth to twins Brody and Silas on August 15.
“We couldn’t wait for them to come. My older children were very happy to go home to have children,” said Amanda Bystran, who has four other children. “They can’t wait to meet and hold them. They were actually born on my 8-year-old’s birthday,” she told CNN.
The twins were born prematurely at 34 weeks and struggled from the start. They made it out of the neonatal intensive care unit after two weeks and recovered from Covid-19 and meningitis in September, their mother said.
Bytrans hoped their twins had turned the corner, but in mid-October, both the congestion and the cough developed.
The worried parents, who live in Catlett, Virginia, took them to their pediatrician — where they tested negative for RSV and the flu on Oct. 17 and were told their twins had the common cold, Amanda tells CNN.
“They sent us home, but around Thursday Brodie took a rapid turn for the worse. He was really congested and was really struggling to expel mucus. It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen,” Bystran said. “He deteriorated very quickly. It’s like being fine one minute and fighting for your life the next.”
Almost all children get RSV at some point before age 2, but parents should be especially cautious if their children are preemies, newborns, children with weakened immune systems or neuromuscular disorders, and those younger than age 2 with chronic lung and heart disease. should be US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A surge in RSV for children is overwhelming hospitals
The Bystrances decided on Oct. 20 to move Brody to Inova LJ Murphy Children’s Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia, an hour away from their home.
This time, a doctor informed her that Brody had tested positive for RSV and would be admitted to the hospital, Amanda said. The family waited 12 hours in the emergency room before Brody was transferred to a bed in the pediatric surgery unit. Bystran says they waited 16 hours before transferring him to the pediatric intensive care unit.
“They are very full. The entire pediatric ward was full of RSV patients. It’s horrible,” she said.
Tracy Connell, a spokeswoman for Inova Children’s Hospital, told CNN Thursday that the hospital has been operating at or near capacity for the past several days. A news release said the hospital had activated its “internal emergency operations plan” to help deal with the high volume of patients coming in with respiratory viruses such as RSV and influenza – but assured the public it was equipped to handle it. Sadapahara
Bystran accompanied her son during his hospital stay and watched doctors administer various oxygen treatments, she says. On the morning of Oct. 22, conditions worsened and she called for extra help after seeing that oxygen therapy wasn’t working and Brody was still struggling to breathe, she says.
“They decided to intubate him, so I got out so they could work on him,” Bystran said. “Then 20 minutes passed and a nurse told me his heart rate had taken a dive and they had been doing CPR on him for the last 10 minutes.”
Bystran quickly asked her husband and mother-in-law to take her to the hospital, but they weren’t able to before Brody died, she says.
“My heart is broken into a billion pieces. No mother should have to plan a funeral for her child. He should have outlived me. This boy did not even get to see him for three months. It’s not fair,” Bystran expressed his grief on Facebook.
The Bytrans’ nightmare isn’t over: Brody’s twin, Silas, is still in the hospital trying to recover from RSV. He tested positive for RSV at the hospital on Oct. 21, and his brother was admitted a day later, Bystran said. Unlike Brody, Silas also suffered from pneumonia and was in the intensive care unit for about 16 hours, according to his mother.
On Tuesday evening, Silas was moved out of the intensive care unit, but on Wednesday he developed a fever overnight and needed assistance to raise his oxygen levels, Bystran said.
“We had a really tough night and he came back not doing too well. “The doctors said that RSV is such a rollercoaster,” she said. “They’re okay for a minute, then can go down quickly before stabilizing again.”
His family hope he pulls through – but are heartbroken that he won’t be able to grow up with his twins.
“Brody was such a light. A beautiful little child. He was so liked and loved. It was so sweet to see the bond he and Silas shared,” Bystran said. “They liked to sleep together. They always touched. It breaks my heart that I don’t get to see them grow up together. I fear that Silas will always feel this hole because he will lose his twin.”
As the Bytrans mourn the loss of their son, they advise other parents to trust their instincts.
“If you feel your child is getting worse and it’s not just a cold, go to the hospital right away. Don’t wait, don’t think about it, don’t second-guess yourself,” Bystran said.