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Newborn finally discharged after being hospitalized for 6 months with COVID-19

By Morgan Lentes

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NEW ORLEANS (WDSU) — A newborn baby will spend his first night at home Wednesday after contracting COVID-19 over the summer.

Monchell Cruppi told WDSU that her son Byron was born prematurely in April.

“He actually came from Touro when he was two months, and right before he was getting ready to get discharged, he got COVID,” Cruppi said. “That extended his stay four extra months.”

Doctors said Byron was infected by a visitor who did not realize they were sick.

“Premature babies like Byron are at high risk of having side effects from viruses,” said Dr. Jeffrey Surcouf, who works in the NICU at Children’s Hospital. “Byron was supported on the ECMO machine for about three weeks at which time he was able to be taken off of that support successfully, and it’s a pretty amazing success for Byron as he’s the youngest patient that we know of to date that has survived ECMO for COVID-19.”

Surcouf explained that the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine acted as his heart and lungs.

Cruppi said during that time, she was unable to hold or even touch her baby.

“I was terrified,” Cruppi said. “I felt hopeless because I couldn’t physically help him.”

But over time, doctors told WDSU that Byron’s condition started to improve. He was eventually approved for discharge on Wednesday.

“He went through a lot, and it’s days like today that make us really excited to do our job,” Surcouf said.

To celebrate the good news, doctors and nurses from the NICU lined the path to the elevators and waved as his family walked by.

“It means everything to us,” Cruppi said. “I thank everybody at Children’s Hospital for everything they did for him.”

Cruppi also pleaded with people to get vaccinated.

“Please,” Cruppi said. “Y’all don’t want to go through this. It’s hard.”

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