RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Just a month ago, VCU Children’s Hospital had enough space to take children with RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus) from other hospitals that had run out of space. Now, however, they too are nearing capacity, making it difficult to treat Richmond-area children afflicted by the same virus.
Ten-month-old Reina Duque is just one of many children across Central Virginia with RSV. Her journey to VCU Medical Center was a long one — but one many families had to make as their local hospitals filled to capacity.
Reina’s mother, Rumour Blackman, said they ended up at VCU when their two closest options failed them. The nearest hospital didn’t have the equipment needed to treat Reina, the second option, a children’s hospital in Fairfax, was at capacity.
“The whole situation was especially stressful with RSV,” Blackman said. “With her oxygen and her breathing and … you know, it’s scary. It’s pretty scary.”
Dr. Tiffany Kimbrough told 8News that VCU Medical Center has run out of room too.
“We can’t take any incoming ambulances to our emergency room because we are full or have kids that are holding for a bed down in our emergency room,” Kimbrough said.
VCU reportedly saw a 16% increase in respiratory illnesses last week. This week, there has been an increase of 30%. Kimbrough said that VCU is collaborating with other hospitals to try and get children the care they need — but that’s not guaranteed.
“There was a lot of other kids with RSV that were getting transferred in or even just local to the area,” Blackman recalls. “Because I know she was in the PICU for a while and the PICU was full. I had to wait in the emergency department for a while before they could even get a room available for her.”
Representatives from VCU told 8News they don’t believe RSV has reached its peak yet. Parents are urged to try telehealth or primary care appointments before bringing children to the emergency room unless it is clear they need urgent care.