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COVID-19: 'He's Been Through Hell:' Mom Details 9-Year-Old Son’s Battle With Rare Complication

Michele Mi and her son, Johnny, a third-grader at Mt. Olive
Michele Mi and her son, Johnny, a third-grader at Mt. Olive Photo Credit: Courtesy of Michele Mi

A mom is speaking out after her 9-year-old son was diagnosed with a rare and potentially fatal COVID-19 complication that landed him in the hospital.

Michele Mi says her son, Johnny, a third-grader in Mt. Olive, New Jersey, was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Dec. 23 but showed no symptoms.

“I thought we were very lucky,” she writes in a Jan. 20 Facebook post.

Two and a half weeks went by before Johnny — who had already been quarantined — woke up vomiting with a spiked temperature, said Mi, who rushed him to a pediatrician.

After Johnny’s flu test came back negative, the pediatrician told Mi about the possibility of MIS-C, or Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children — a rare but debilitating COVID-19 complication with an unknown cause.

“She stressed it was rare but sent us to the ER for testing,” said Mi.

Mi took Johnny to the ER, where she was told that “it was likely a random virus given the timeline and the fact that MIS-C was rare.”

Mi’s worries had been temporarily soothed until 72 hours later on Jan. 12, when Johnny — whose fever still had not broken — was admitted to the pediatric COVID-19 unit at Morristown Medical Center with high MIS-C blood markers.

“After testing done by his cardiologist, infectious disease doctor, oncologist/hematologist, rheumatologist, and pediatrician, he was diagnosed with MIS-C and given an IV immunoglobulin infusion (IVIG) which had donor antibodies,” writes Mi.

The next day, Johnny’s fever spikes slowly started getting less frequent, and the night of Jan. 18, he was finally sent home, where he is still in recovery and will require follow-up testing.

“He tires easily, but looks and feels much better than when we first came home,” Mi told Daily Voice. “He still has to see his cardiologist and repeat bloodwork to make sure his inflammation markers are still going down and there is no damage to his heart.”

Mi says her goal is to spread awareness about the rare complication and make sure parents know how to recognize the signs.

“If your child tests positive for COVID, then develops a high fever a few weeks later — get medical attention immediately,” she says. “MIS-C gets very bad, very quickly, and sometimes when a syndrome or illness is rare, it gets dismissed because statistically it’s not likely. This is why we have to stay on top of it as parents.”

Mi concluded the story by giving a shout-out to the hardworking team of doctors, nurses and specialists at Morristown Medical Center.

“We caught this illness very early and his pediatrician and infectious disease doctor took it very seriously,” she writes. “We got medical care almost immediately. I believe that, and the AMAZING doctors and nurses at Morristown Medical Center, is what saved my son…they treated my son as if he was their own child.”

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, 1,659 “total MIS-C cases meeting case definition” were recorded since May 2020 (updated Jan. 8) with 26 deaths from the complication. Additional cases remain under investigation, the health institute says.

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