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Father of 1-year-old boy hospitalized with COVID-19 pleads for others to get vaccinated

‘Please don’t let this happen to your kids. It’s not worth it.’
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 1:29 AM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/Gray News) - The father of a 1-year-old infant hospitalized with COVID-19 in Springfield, Missouri, has a heartbreaking message after watching his son struggle.

Carter Butrum was born three months premature last year, and his family spent quite a bit of time at hospitals caring for him. After months of progress, his parents thought Carter was done with hospitals, KY3 reports.

“There’s no smaller feeling than watching someone who can’t speak for themselves go through that and not be able to help,” said Carter’s father, Kyle Butrum. “I spent five months wondering if he was ever going to come home, and I thought we were done with the major hospital things. Now, here I am a year later, wondering if he is ever going to make it home again.”

Feelings of familiarity are consuming the Arkansas family, as Carter deals with COVID-19. The 1-year-old had cold symptoms at daycare late last week, but RSV and COVID tests came back negative initially.

On Monday, things got worse. Carter was taken to urgent care and tested positive for COVID-19.

“Last night and overnight, it just seemed like he couldn’t catch his breath,” Butrum said. “I mean, he was breathing, but the coughing was tense.”

A stop at Cox in Branson turned into an emergency trip to Cox South in Springfield. Carter now requires oxygen.

“He’s just exhausted and is doing everything he can,” Butrum said. “He’s only 1 year old. There’s only so much a 1-year-old can do when it’s fully exhausted.”

While Carter is with his mom at Cox South, the anxiety still sticks with his father while he can’t be at his son’s side.

“That’s the worst, the second being helpless to the situation, you’re now completely helpless because you can’t even communicate with people that are trying to help,” Butrum said.

His son stays on his mind.

“For something that’s avoidable, it’s not fair to him,” he said.

Carter’s father says he does not want anyone to experience what he is going through. He wants people to know the virus truly can affect anyone.

“This can happen to your kids,” he said. “It can happen to your mom. It can happen to your aunts, uncles, cousins. There is no line in the sand. It happened to my 1-year-old. And regardless of whatever you think, you’re part of the fabric of the community.”

As members of a community, everyone should do their part, starting with the vaccine, he says.

“So, to just actively choose not to do it is to actively put someone else in danger,” Butrum said. “And that’s not fair to the ones who can’t make that decision. So, please, please don’t let this happen to your kids. It’s not worth it.”

Butrum says getting vaccinated is not just about the person getting the shot. It is about protecting those who cannot protect themselves, especially young children.

Copyright 2021 KY3 via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.