A 15-year-old girl from suburban Bolingbrook died Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19, less than three days after she started showing symptoms, her parents say, sharing their daughter's story to warn other families not to let up on health and safety protocols for their children.
Dykota Morgan, a freshman at Bolingbrook High School, died at around 3 a.m. Tuesday at Central DuPage Hospital, her family and the DuPage County Coroner's Office said.
Her mom Krystal Morgan said Dykota first started complaining of a headache on Saturday and just wanted to sleep. Morgan said her daughter then woke up the next day with a slight cough and feeling dizzy. As she grew more tired, Morgan decided early Sunday evening to take her daughter to get tested for COVID nearby. Dykota's rapid test results came back positive, according to Morgan, who said she then called her 19-year-old daughter to come home from work to quarantine.
Morgan said she then bought 10 rapid COVID tests from Walgreens to test their entire family. Her older daughter tested positive as well but everyone else in the family tested negative, she said.
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Morgan said she bought "everything that everybody ever told me they had COVID that helped them" and set up a station outside her daughters' bedrooms where she could leave tea, soup and other supplies for them to pick up while wearing N95 masks as a way for them to quarantine within the same house.
At around 2 p.m. Monday, Morgan said Dykota called her as her condition worsened.
"She FaceTimed me and said, 'Mom, I'm too weak to come get the soup out of bed,' and I'm like, 'You're too weak? She's like, 'Yeah and I don't wanna be alone. Can one of y'all just come stay in there with me?'" Morgan recalled. She said she and Dykota's father Rashad Bingham, who is vaccinated, both stayed with Dykota until she fell asleep.
Morgan said when they went back to check on Dykota in her sleep, she was sweating even though the thermometer didn't show she had a fever.
"She's sweating, she said she felt hot and cold, so I ended up having to change her out of her clothes and that's when I knew that she was really sick because she couldn't even sit up, she couldn't put an arm through her shirt," Morgan said. "I had to literally lift her legs and pull her pants; she couldn't do anything for herself and I started getting very concerned. And then her body started getting kind of cold, so I started just massaging her, compressing her, I put a makeshift bolster under her knees and set her up so she wasn't laying straight back and she was just like, 'I think I need to go to the hospital.'"
"She was like, 'Mom, why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this?' And I told her, 'You didn't do anything to deserve this, Dykota,'" Morgan said. "We literally tried to do everything to protect her, everything to protect her from this virus and I know she was very responsible, so I didn't worry about her because she was very responsible."
Morgan said she called the doctor, who told her to take Dykota to the emergency room because they thought she might be developing pneumonia.
Dykota's parents took her to Central DuPage Hospital late Monday night, where Morgan said her blood pressure was lower than it should have been when she was admitted and continued to drop.
Shortly after she was admitted, doctors said Dykota needed to stay overnight, then about an hour later, they transferred her to the ICU as her condition deteriorated.
"Then they said, 'We're going to have to helicopter her to Lurie Children's Hospital because we're not equipped to handle the amount of care that she needs,'" Morgan said. "Her heart rate started to become elevated and they said her kidneys started failing, and then she started really complaining about stomach pain."
Because of the weather, the hospital couldn't clear the helicopter so Dykota was then supposed to be driven to Lurie while in a medically induced coma for the trip there.
"They told us to come in the room and tell her we loved her and to tell her goodbye and we'll see her when she wakes up, because they were going to induce her, and then we went in, we said our goodbyes, my mom called, my dad called and they got to tell her that they love her and I still did not ever think that she was not going to come back from this, even at that point, but the doctors kind of started scaring me a little bit because they looked really worried," Morgan said.
Morgan said she and Bingham stepped out of Dykota's room at 2:05 a.m. Tuesday morning and their daughter coded.
"Those doctors and nurses, they worked tirelessly for the next hour, manually CPR, CPR on her chest, and they said that her heart was just too weak and she couldn't take it anymore and they had to just, they had, they did everything that they could do," Morgan said.
Morgan said Dykota didn't have any pre-existing conditions, was a healthy athlete who played multiple sports - basketball, softball, cross country and track - and went to the doctor for a check-up every year. Dykota most recently went to the doctor two weeks prior to her death because she had a migraine, her mother said, wondering if it was possible she had COVID at that time but wasn't tested for it because she didn't have any other symptoms.
The DuPage County Coroner's Office said Thursday that Dykota's official cause of death was still pending investigation and that it could be "several weeks" before they know anything more. Morgan said the office told her that Dykota died of an "inflamed heart."
"Parents need to know that their children are not as safe as we think. It could happen to anyone. And I think that message needs to be said more. This could be anybody's child," Bingham said.
Morgan said their daughter was a "beautiful soul" and a focused student who was in all honors and advanced placement courses with big plans and a 3.7 GPA - which they learned when her report card came in the mail Tuesday, just hours after Dykota died.
"She had plans for her future. She was an athlete, she was a scholar, she had scholarships already for full-ride scholarships at four different universities. She was a track star, a basketball player, a softball player, she could draw, she could paint, she was a makeup artist, people came to the house to get their eyebrows done from her and would pay her, and she was just a beautiful soul," Morgan said.
"Everybody who met her wanted a piece of her: coaches, people's parents, her teammates' parents. Everybody loved this girl, the outpouring of love that she had was just - the support that we're getting for her is just phenomenal, like I never in a million years expected that my baby would have had this impact on people's lives in just her 15 years," she added.
"Dykota was an amazing child who let her light shine on everybody that she came in contact with and the impact that she left in these 15 years is gonna go on forever," Bingham said.
"She was a superstar," Morgan added.