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North Olmsted mom shares son's terrifying battle with RSV, journey to wellness

Five-week-old Max Schumann's cold-like symptoms quickly morphed into something way worse—as he struggled to breathe, and his skin turned blue.
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Posted at 6:52 AM, Dec 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-19 20:03:57-05

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio — RSV has quickly become every parent's biggest concern this time of year.

The virus is popping up in daycares and schools across northeast Ohio sending thousands of children to the Emergency Room.

The respiratory virus has resulted in many hospitals running out of bed space, in some instances.

A North Olmsted family says their case was so bad their child nearly lost his life. By acting fast and getting him to the Cleveland Clinic he is recovering and well today.

Samantha Schumann’s three little boys are her whole wide world. 5-year-old Jackson, 3-year-old Henry and 3-month-old Maxwell give her purpose and joy.

“We talk about how lucky we are, and how blessed we are to all be home-- and have a house and have the toys we play with," said Samantha Schumann, a North Olmsted area mom.

A few weeks back, the North Olmsted mom learned how fragile life can be.

“It all started at like the end of October. My other two brought home a cold and it ended up being RSV," said Schumann.

Loving on their baby brother—little Max also contracted RSV.

“He just had like red, droopy eyes; he was just-- you could tell he wasn’t feeling good. He was coughing," said Schumann.

Photos of the then 5-week-old are a haunting reminder of how severe RSV can be.

The cold-like symptoms quickly morphed into something way worse—as he struggled to breathe, his skin was pale and blue.

He could barely cry.

Schumann rushed him to Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital’s Pediatric ED.

“They took him back right away and they were able to start him on high-flow oxygen, and then that’s when we were transferred to Main Campus," said Schumann.

Samantha says watching her little guy struggle so much was unbearable.

“My heart was just broken. They ultimately had to put in a breathing tube because he just couldn’t sustain. He had completely tuckered himself out from trying to beat it.”

While it appeared, he was recovering on the ventilator—Samantha was then told his airway became blocked with mucus and he was entering pulmonary arrest and coding.

“For three minutes—they worked on him and obviously they saved his life."

Dr. John Carl, Cleveland Clinic Children's Head of the Center for Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine said not all RSV cases are this severe.

However, the Schumann's took the necessary steps in getting him the best treatment possible.

"Max's case--it was he needed to have a breathing tube and a ventilator. But fortunately, most kids don't get to that point. They just need a lot of nasal suctioning and bulb suctioning to go ahead and clear their nose up," said Dr. Carl.

Through the trauma and stress —Samantha says the holiday is being held even closer to her heart.

“It’s an astronomical amount of gratitude. I mean, all I dreamed of when we were at the hospital was being home all under the same roof," said Schumann.

She says Max’s big brothers are overjoyed he’s on the mend.

“They absolutely love him too. Sometimes too much," said Schumann.

Bottom line--Schumann says parents should not hesitate.

She says to contact your pediatrician first. If things escalate and your child is struggling to breathe or becomes non-responsive, get your child to the ER as soon as possible.

Had the Schumann's waited—they say the outcome could have been drastically different.