coronavirus illinois

Coronavirus Illinois: Mother Searches for Answers in North Suburban Teen's Death

Zach Leviton, a sophomore at Wheeling High School, died Monday, April 13

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A north suburban mother whose 16-year-old son died after contracting the coronavirus says she's looking for answers about what exactly caused his death.

Zach Leviton, a sophomore at Wheeling High School, died Monday, April 13 at a suburban hospital after waking up with symptoms that same morning.

“He was not feeling 100% for a couple of weeks,” said Julie Leviton, Zach's mother. “Complained of feeling lightheaded, had low energy and threw up one day.”

Leviton said she called a doctor, but there was no concern for coronavirus at the time because he was not experiencing a fever, cough or shortness of breath.

On April 13, Zach woke up with his left arm feeling limp, unable to take a drink of water. Leviton said she called 911 and Zach was taken to Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview then later transferred to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

By the afternoon, Zach's symptoms had rapidly deteriorated and doctors put him on a ventilator. They told Leviton it appeared that her son had the early stages of the coronavirus, despite testing negative.

Autopsy results could take at least three months to provide results, but doctors told Leviton they are dumbfounded why a 16-year-old died so suddenly.

"I'm incredibly frustrated," Leviton said. "I want answers from medical community. We want to know why we lost our son.”

Leviton said she hopes research can be done to test if her son died of a different strain of coronavirus and appreciated the support from the community. 

"Zach was a light...everyone’s best friend," his mother told NBC 5. "He was a funny kid...competitive, kind. He was so well loved."

To keep Zach's memory alive, a family friend has started an online fundraiser to purchase and customize a memorial bench in the teen's honor.

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