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Regina boy experiences severe complications, cardiac arrest due to RSV


A Regina family wants to raise awareness about Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) after their one-year-old son experienced severe complications due to the illness.

Barrett Temple caught what seemed like a common cold in late November. He had a bit of a cough, mucous and an on-again-off-again fever, according to his dad, Matt Temple. Those symptoms lasted a few days.

“Then he just kind of turned. We started noticing his fingers started getting a little blue and his lips started to get a little blue and that’s when we just instantly went to the hospital,” Temple said.

While in the emergency department, Barrett went into cardiac arrest. He and his mother, Kayla Jakubowski, were airlifted to Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon. Temple and Jakubowski have been there with Barrett ever since.

“It’s been a slow process but that’s exactly what he needs,” Temple said.

“His breathing is a lot better and a lot more under control. They’re hoping in 24 hours, the breathing tubes and everything should be able to come out and that’s when he can really start the recovery on his own.”

Doctors diagnosed Barrett with RSV and Influenza H.

Barrett was airlifted to Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital on Nov. 24. (Courtesy: Kayla Jakubowski)

Severe complications are uncommon, but can happen with any respiratory virus, according to Dr. Athena McConnell, pediatric infectious disease physician.

“The younger you are, the more likely you are to actually have a bad complication,” McConnell said.

“Cardiac arrest or dying from RSV is uncommon, but it is more common if you’re young.”

Kids under the age of two are at a higher risk of complications because the tubes that carry air into their lungs are smaller, she said, which can lead to breathing difficulties when they become inflamed.

RSV season usually begins in October or November and peaks around January or February before tapering off in March, she said.

However, this year the virus is just starting to ramp up in December. McConnell said it is unclear if a late start will lead to a late end to the RSV season.

She said hospitals are seeing an increase in children experiencing respiratory illnesses, which is likely due to the fact that these viruses virtually disappeared during the pandemic.

“We had two and a half years where we had very little respiratory viruses and so our immune system effectively forgot what RSV looked like,” she said.

“It takes a lot longer for our immune systems to ramp up when it’s a so-called brand new virus to our body and so you can get sicker.”

RSV cannot be treated, only its symptoms. McConnell recommends taking Tylenol or Advil to help with body aches and fever. She said people should reach out to a doctor if they have difficulty breathing or become dehydrated.

After their family’s scare, Jakubowski wants parents to advocate for their children and trust their instincts.

Barrett and his dad, Matt, pose for a picture on the playground. (Courtesy: Kayla Jakubowski)

“If you feel like you need to take your kid to the doctor and you have to keep taking your kid to the doctor over and over again, do it,” she said.

“You can feel it in your gut when you know it’s time and you need to listen to it because if we were even five minutes later, it would have been too late.”

Fortunately, Barrett is on the mend and doctors believe he is on a good path to recovery. However, it is too soon to say what, if any, long term impacts he could face. Top Stories

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