Mum who lost son to rare Covid complication warns others to look for early signs

A mother whose teenage son died of a rare Covid complication that affects some children has warned parents to look out for early signs.

When the doctors realized what was wrong with Lorena Navarrete’s 16-year-old son Emilio, it was too late to save him.

The single mother, who lives in the southern Chilean town of Puerto Montt, told the TVN network that her son died about a week after the first complaint of tiredness and leg pain in late January.

Within a few days, he had vivid spots on his skin and developed a high fever, and was vomiting and producing dark urine.

Doctors at the city’s hospital, inundated with severe Covid cases, repeatedly tested him for the virus, but with the results
Coming back negative was at a loss as to what was wrong with him.

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By the time his disease was identified as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, it was too late.

Lorena couldn’t be by her son’s bed because of strict health protocols, but a social worker called to convey the message that her son loved her very much.

She asked the social worker to tell her son that she would see him soon and that his pets were fine.

“A doctor said if I had confidence I should pray because my son was very sick,” said Lorena, who works as a nurse technician.

“You had a diagnosis and it was PIMS.”

A doctor attends to an elderly patient with COVID-19 at the Military Hospital in Santiago, Chile on June 18, 2020

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), commonly known as PIMS, is rare and life threatening
Covid-19 related syndrome.

It usually occurs between two and six weeks after infection, even in asymptomatic cases of Covid-19.

It shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, including fever, rashes, swollen glands, conjunctivitis, and in severe cases, heart inflammation, and can cause multiple organ failure.

It is not always fatal when caught and treated early.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in January that it was investigating whether there were any variants of Covid
increased the number or severity of cases, according to individual reports from some states.

Dr. Loreto Twele, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Puerto Montt Hospital, said catching is like piecing
together a puzzle.

“There isn’t a single exam. You have to put the pieces together to get an early diagnosis and start treatment,” she said.

Chilean public health director Paula Daza said in a press conference on Monday that of the 69,563 confirmed cases of Covid
So far, 157 cases of MIS-C have been reported in children in Chile.

“The rate of cases of children with these diseases is quite low, but health professionals need to be vigilant,” she said.

For Emilio’s mother, Lorena, the pain of losing her only son helps, in part because she knows she can raise awareness.

“I don’t want Emilio’s death to be in vain and that this is known so that the same thing doesn’t happen to other parents,” she said.


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