Hazelhurst family says 4-year-old now cardiac patient after rare COVID side effect, MIS-C
MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) - A Hazelhurst family is sharing their story to help people understand the seriousness of how COVID-19 can affect children.
Mitch and Misti Lavin have spent the last six days at Marshfield Children’s Hospital in Marshfield after their daughter developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome.
According to the CDC, multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.
“Her immune system fought COVID and once it was gone, her immune system didn’t know how to shut off, moving to work on her own organs/tissues,” the couple wrote.
In a Facebook post, the couple explains that on Dec. 30, their 4-year-old daughter, Lily developed a stomach ache and low-grade fever. The fever had been under control with medication but on Jan.1, the Lavins said Lily was taken to the hospital once her fever reached 104 degrees.
“Saturday morning, we took her to urgent care where she was evaluated with a rapid strep test, COVID swab (wait for results for 24+ hours), abdominal x-ray, serum labs and urine sample. Everything looked ok aside from some elevated inflammatory markers in her blood work which could be any number of things. Ultimately, we were sent to the ER for further workup of possible appendicitis based on her belly pain,” the couple wrote.
The Lavins explained appendicitis was ruled out, but Lily tested positive for COVID. “This positive test explained her symptoms and we were sent home with direction on comfort measures and told it could take some time but usually kids turn around quickly.”
On Jan. 4, during a follow-up appointment, labs showed that her inflammatory markers were much higher. The Lavins said that’s when an infectious disease physician from Marshfield Medical Center – Marshfield got involved.
“Once reviewing Lily’s chart and most recent labs, he immediately had concerns that she was showing early signs of a rare complication of COVID-19 called MIS-C,” they explained.
“Our world completely changed almost as soon as we got to the hospital. Lily was now showing signs of myocarditis and needed telemetry monitoring and closer fluid management.
Misti said the meds that are given to fight MIS-C basically block the immune system from harming her own organs. “If not for intervention with meds, with time MIS-C most likely would resolve, but the damage is unknown. This is why meds are given to prevent as much damage as possible.”
“Most of the cases occur... In the kids who had symptoms consistent with Covid, the manifestations of MIS-C tend to occur two to four weeks after those symptoms,” Marshfield Clinic Pediatric Infectious Diseases Dr. Thomas Boyce said.
Boyce said he’s seen just three other cases of MIS-C at Marshfield Clinic, with only about 30 in the state.
The condition harms multiple organs including the heart and can cause a rash and red eyes.
“I think it’s something to be aware of and not necessarily think ‘well this can’t happen because it’s so rare,’” Boyce said.
MIS-C generally impacts kids ages 6 to 9-years-old, but can be found outside of that range, much like in 4-year-old Lily.
Doctor Boyce said it’s best to bring your child to the hospital if they’re experiencing a fever for two days or more.
“If it is suspected, these kids should not be managed as an outpatient, but they should be admitted to the local hospital, about half of the kids end up needing to be in an intensive care unit,” Boyce said.
Misti explained when Lily finally pulls through, she will be a long-term cardiac patient. “She won’t be going back to her fun activities like gymnastics. She is going to be out of school for an extended period of time and will miss out on fun with her friends,”
Misti said this past week has been an experience they don’t wish upon anyone as a parent.
“Even kids that do not have symptoms can get this rare syndrome and get very very sick. Please do your part. Get vaccinated. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Minimize big gatherings. You never know when your child might get a fever and then end up in the hospital for a week with heart failure because of MIS-C,” the couple wrote.
Lily was discharged from the hospital Monday morning.
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