BAKERSFIELD, CA. (KGET) – A Bakersfield family thought their son had the symptoms of coronavirus in March.
However, circumstances got worse for the family when COVID-19 was ruled out.
What nearly took the life of 16-year-old Ryker Schamblin was a more common killer.
“It was an assumed COVID case,” Mark Schamblin, Ryker’s father said. “The chest X-Ray followed by a CT Scan showed findings very consistent with COVID.”
Ryker’s symptoms started with nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath.
But within days, Ryker got worse. In less than 72 hours, he went from showing minor symptoms at home, to the Intensive Care Unit.
“The pulmonologist came in and said, ‘I would give your son about a 50/50 percent chance of survival,’” Schamblin said.
As doctors believed Ryker’s symptoms reflect those of a COVID-19 patient, testing was underway.
But as preparations were made, a shocking discovery was made.
“As they were preparing him for the ventilator,” Schamblin said. “The nurse walked out and handed us two vape pens that she found in his sweatpants.”
Ryker admitted he had been vaping and using e-cigarettes for roughly a year.
“If we had assumed it was COVID, he wouldn’t have been started on steroids,” Schamblin said. “Steroids are the only form of treatment we have. So there’s a good chance he wouldn’t have been started on the steroids, he wouldn’t have responded and he wouldn’t have recovered.”
The family said nearly losing Ryker was an eye opener to an underlying issue in teens, much too often.
Ryker said the scare changed his outlook on the tobacco product dramatically.
“It’s a huge eye opener,” Ryker said. “You realize, why do it? You don’t have a reason.”
The family said they hope the experience serves as a wakeup call for other teens.