Long Island family warns of RSV after child hospitalized with the virus

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Tuesday, November 22, 2022 10:49PM
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Ella Rose Ghiam was brought to Cohen Children's Medical Center, where she ended up on oxygen in the ICU for nearly a week after coming down with RSV. Stacey Sager has the story.

NEW HYDE PARK, New York (WABC) -- A family on Long Island is sharing their experience with RSV after two of their little girls came down with the virus.

It was a scarier Halloween than usual for little Ella Rose and her family this year.

The normally active 3-and-a-half-year-old from Great Neck had a stubbornly high fever last month.

"But with this one, I noticed with this one, it wasn't really breaking yet," Ella Rose's mother Anita Ghiam said.

Her mother told Eyewitness News reporter Stacey Sager that Rose had tested negative for both COVID and RSV at first, but she had that gut feeling no parent should ignore. So, she brought her daughter to Cohen Children's Medical Center, where she ended up on oxygen in the ICU for nearly a week.

"It was horrendous. I hope no parent has to go through it, it was terrifying," Ghiam said.

It turned out to be RSV, despite the initial negative test. Rose is happily recovered now.

"I'm feeling better," Ella Rose Ghiam said.

But her case, like so many across the country, has left pediatric hospitalizations at their highest level in at least two years.

At Cohen, their volume in the pediatric ER is up by 44%, and their hospital admissions are up by nearly 50%, and the flu season is only beginning.

"We are putting patients in areas that were either closed or used for other purposes," said Dr. Charles Schleien of Northwell Health Pediatric Services.

That includes areas like Long Island Jewish, which is within the overall Northwell health system.

"If you have fever, you have a cough, perhaps this is the time to sit it out," said Dr. Matthew Harris of Cohen Pediatric Emergency Physician. "Otherwise, wash hands, some people choose to wear masks, this is reasonable as well."

Doctors say to try to distinguish between less severe symptoms and those in which a parent must act.

"Really rapid breathing, usually with fever, sometimes babies stop breathing," Dr. Schleien said.

In Ella's case, the ER was the right choice. The rest of her family, including her 1-year-old sister, also had RSV, but mild cases. Now, they're ready to enjoy their holiday.

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