15-year-old boy battles COVID-19 at Golisano Children’s Hospital

Reporter: Nicole Gabe Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
A teen lies in a hospital bed at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida while he is being treated for the coronavirus in September 2021. He has required a feeding tube during his hospital stay. His mother told WINK News he was unvaccinated when he contracted COVID-19. Credit: Lee Health.

We got a closer look at the experience of a young person fighting the coronavirus in the hospital.

Lee Health released video of a teenage boy in the ICU barely breathing on his own recently. The only way he can eat is with a feeding tube. The teen was not vaccinated, and we spoke to his mother Monday, who regrets she didn’t push him to put up more of a defense against COVID-19.

“I never thought it would be him,” mother Lisa Moya said. “I have never felt so helpless, terrified or heartbroken in my life.”

Moya feared she or her son, 15-year-old Brandon Moya, would never breathe easy again. Her son contracted COVID-19 shortly after the school year started. Soon after, he was admitted him to Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

“We got up here, and they put him on a BiPAP mask,” Moya explained. “He needed the full. He needed oxygen and a mask to put the pressure, positive pressure into his lungs. And when we got here, the doctor told me, ‘I have to tell you that, if this doesn’t work, the next step is a ventilator,’ and that was another blow.”

Brandon rallied, and he was never placed on a ventilator. Instead, doctors put in a feeding tube.

“I just didn’t think it could really get as bad for most people, and how easily it could kind of change my life,” Brandon said.

Brandon spent 13 days at the hospital. He wasn’t vaccinated. It’s a decision he made and a decision his mother regrets.

“I had a feeling I was screwing myself,” Brandon said.

“If I could go back in time, I would have vaccinated him,” Moya said.

Moya said she will not allow her teenage son to make a decision like that on his own again.

“My fear every moment of every day of four or five days was, ‘What if he’s the kid that winds up on the news because he didn’t? I thought about everything from going home to my empty house. To just what will I do with my life?’” Moya said.

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