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10-year-old boy being treated for COVID-19; mom says ‘it’s not a joke’

The mother of a 10-year-old boy in Southwest Florida says her son is fighting the coronavirus at Golisano Children’s Hospital Wednesday. He’s been there since last Saturday, and she’s been through days of worry and wondering what’s next.

“There was no hope four days ago,” mother Christina Prachniak said. “I was crying and crying because I really thought my child was going to die.”

Prachniak says schools should not open because her reality could become someone else’s.

On the Fourth of July, Prachniak rushed her son, Ben, to the hospital in Charlotte County after an asthma attack. He tested positive for COVID-19 and the flu. It got so bad, they rushed him to Golisano’s, where Ben and his mom have stayed since.

“There are so many alarms that go off when a child has COVID,” Prachniak said. “Everything is monitored. You get scared. You have a little panic attack.”

Prachniak told us every time another alarm sounds, it raises questions.

“Which one is this? Is it the bad one? You know?” Prachniak said.

She looks at her Ben and thinks, “It’s terrifying,” Prachniak said. “My husband passed away eight years ago. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose my son too.”

After four days in a hospital room, mom knows more about the equipment keeping her son alive.

“When they use to take him off his oxygen, this number would go all the way down,” Prachniak said.

But she won’t leave her son until he is able to leave with her.

“I really thought my child was going to die,” Prachniak said. “They were talking about intubating him.”

Fortunately, something new in their hospital room was an appetite and some hope.

“He was so happy to see those French fries and that chicken tender,” Prachniak said. “He was so happy, and now, he’s waiting for some pizza.”

Now, Prachniak said she hopes the Florida Department of Education rethinks its decision to send kids back to school five days a week because she said she doesn’t want any parent or child to go through what they have or worse.

Another sign of hope: Wednesday was the first day Ben did not have to be sedated. What he’s really hoping for, his mom said, is to see his brother and get home to his dog.

“My son was so healthy,” Prachniak said. “Twenty-four hours later, he was dying. It’s not a joke. It’s not a joke.”

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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