Fourteen-year-old Micah Hullum appeared to have made a full restoration 48 hours after testing optimistic for COVID-19. Three days later, he was mendacity in a hospital mattress, unresponsive.
His mom, Keosha Road, suspected one thing was flawed when she discovered Micah standing in the lounge, dazed and staring. He couldn’t keep in mind why he was there. His “typical” COVID signs—cough, low-grade fever, dizziness—had all resolved on their very own. However one thing nonetheless wasn’t proper.
Keosha thought possibly he wasn’t getting sufficient sleep, or possibly his diet was off. However quickly Micah was so fatigued and weak, he was struggling to even stroll on his personal. Keosha was supporting him to the lavatory and into mattress. He didn’t need to eat. The mind fog had gotten worse, and he began listening to voices within the storage.
“One minute I had a superbly well being child, after which it felt like impulsively, this chaos was taking place,” she stated. “As soon as these signs began taking place, it went downhill fast.” She took him to the emergency room, the place docs stated it was in all probability the start phases of schizophrenia.
Keosha, who labored as a psychological well being case supervisor earlier than changing into a enterprise course of affiliate at Blue Cross and Blue Protect of North Carolina, knew that wasn’t it. Black Individuals like Micah are extra prone to be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia than White Individuals. And it didn’t clarify the opposite extreme signs he was experiencing.
She determined to take him to Duke College Hospital for a second opinion. By the point they bought there, Micah was practically catatonic. He was admitted to the pediatric ward, attended to by a staff of neurologists, psychiatrists and rheumatologists. When Micah first grew to become unresponsive, it appeared like the entire hospital ran to his bedside.
“It was like a scene from a type of medical reveals. There have been twenty docs within the room, and so they stated, ‘He’s unresponsive. We have to get a mind MRI,’” she stated. “Everyone at Duke is aware of who my child is. That’s the sort of case it was.”
The staff of docs identified Micah with post-COVID encephalitis, or swelling on the mind. Encephalitis is a really uncommon complication in COVID-19 sufferers, and it’s particularly uncommon in younger individuals. Not a lot is thought concerning the situation, which Keosha stated made it harder to diagnose.
Viral encephalitis is a time period that describes swelling of the mind due to a viral an infection. It could possibly occur after COVID-19 an infection, however different viruses like measles and the Epstein-Barr virus could cause it, too. Encephalitis could cause neurological signs like weak spot, lack of muscle coordination, persona modifications, reminiscence issues, and modifications in listening to or speech. However case stories within the situation after SARS-CoV-2 an infection are restricted.
“After I went to Google, there was no one like my child. There was no level of reference. So I need to ensure his story will get out in order that others can have that time of reference,” she stated. “I can assure you there’s lots of people who’ve been dismissed or misdiagnosed.”
By the point he was identified, Micah was unable to talk, stroll, and even sleep. He had no technique of speaking, and he required a feeding tube for diet.