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Boonville teen in medically-induced coma due to COVID-19

As of Thursday, Kendra James was still hooked up to a ventilator.
As of Thursday, Kendra James was still hooked up to a ventilator.(WFIE)
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 8:31 PM EDT
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BOONVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A senior at Boonville High School was put on a ventilator at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital due to complications from COVID-19.

Saturday was when 17-year-old Kendra James first started having trouble breathing, and soon, she had double pneumonia.

Her sister Paige Jutzi told 14 News the illness hit her quickly and hard.

“It happened within a matter of 10 hours that it got this bad,” Jutzi said. “COVID had started it and from that it was just tearing apart her lungs, she’s got tears in her lungs.”

Doctors at the hospital had to put James in a medically-induced coma to help treat her infection, and they had to medically paralyze her to help deal with the pain.

As of Thursday, James remained unconscious in Peyton Manning Children’s hospital while her family waits for her to recover.

The doctors said she can still hear them.

“I was like, ‘You’re not done yet, you’re a senior, you’ve got to push through this,’” said Jutzi, whose children refer to Kendra as Aunt Key. “These kids will not know what to do without you, I will not know what to do without you.”

The 17-year-old initially had to wait to get a vaccine because she’s still underage, and after they became available, they still had some hesitation.

She was never vaccinated.

Jutzi said she wishes people would see it isn’t a given that children will be safe if they catch COVID-19.

“I thought the same thing, and then my one and a half year old got it and there were times she’d be fine and other times she’d be throwing a fit,” she said. “My sister, she’s fighting for her life in the hospital now.”

Jutzi said she’s grateful for the community’s support through fundraisers and well-wishes, but more than anything, she wants her sister back and healthy.

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