Mother of Baby on Life Support With COVID Urges People To Protect Themselves

A seven-week-old baby from Idaho who contracted COVID-19 is fighting for her life as the parents urge people to protect themselves from the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Ostara Clure was diagnosed with COVID-19 and pneumonia on January 20 after she woke up struggling to breathe, the Idaho State Journal reported.

Clure's parents took the child to see a doctor and she was later rushed to the emergency room after her heart rate spiked.

"All I could do is sit there and cry. I couldn't breathe, I just cried," the baby's mother, Carli Valentine, told the Journal.

The mother-of-three said that her daughter's experience with COVID-19 had changed her views on the disease.

"Before, I didn't believe in the whole COVID. I didn't do the masks, didn't do anything and now it's affected my daughter, my kids. The other two came up positive. It's affected all of our family around us," Valentine said.

"It changes all our beliefs about it and how scary it really is. Because we're now worried about every single person in our family while we're also worried about our daughter who's fighting for her life with it. It's real, it's life-changing. Definitely be careful; do the hand-washing, wear face masks. Do whatever you need to do to protect yourself."

Clure is unable to breathe on her own and doctors have placed her on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine—a treatment used to support seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

An ECMO is a life support device that pumps and oxygenates a patient's blood outside the body, in cases where the heart and lungs are unable to do so adequately.

Clure was originally hospitalized at St. Luke's Children's Hospital in Boise, Idaho where her condition deteriorated to the point that medical staff moved her to the pediatric intensive care unit.

St. Luke's system medical director Dr. Kenny Bramwell told the Journal that Clure is one of the worst COVID-19 patients he has seen.

But despite doctors at St. Luke's trying various therapies and different types of ventilators, Clure's condition continued to worsen and she was transferred to a hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, where an ECMO was available.

"This is certainly a very heroic measure for a very sick two-month-old child and I'm hopeful that it will be of help," Bramwell said.

Valentine and Clure's father have been staying with the baby in hospital around the clock, away from their two other young children.

"We're just trying to let her get better but things have been going up and down," Valentine said. "There's no connecting, there's no enjoyable moments. [She's] just a small baby and she shows us how hard she's fighting but it's hard to watch and be here every day and see how hard she has to fight."

Pneumonia is usually the result of a bacterial infection, although viral infections (such as coronavirus) can also prompt the disease, said the UK's NHS. Some of the most at-risk groups include babies and very young children, elderly people, and people who smoke.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, reported COVID-19 cases among children have spiked "dramatically" in 2022 as the Omicron variant surges. More than 3.5 million child COVID-19 cases were recorded in January.

For the week ending January 27, more than 808,000 additional child COVID-19 cases were reported, which was down from the peak level of 1,150,000 reported the week ending January 20. But child cases remain high at almost triple the peak level of the Delta surge in 2021.

This has led to a spike in pediatric hospitalizations. While children are significantly less likely to become severely ill with COVID-19, experts say that serious cases of the disease can still occur in young people.

In rare cases, some children with COVID-19 go on to develop a serious condition known as multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) that is characterized by inflammation in different parts of the body including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes and gastrointestinal organs.

A baby in hospital
Stock image showing a baby in hospital. A seven-week-old baby with COVID-19 from Idaho is fighting for her life. iStock