Fourteen-year-old Micah Hullum appeared to have made a full restoration 48 hours after testing constructive for COVID-19. Three days later, he was mendacity in a hospital mattress, unresponsive.
His mom, Keosha Road, suspected one thing was mistaken when she discovered Micah standing in the lounge, dazed and staring. He couldn’t bear 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 toilet and into mattress. He didn’t wish to eat. The mind fog had gotten worse, and he began listening to voices within the storage.
“One minute I had a wonderfully well being child, after which it felt like swiftly, this chaos was taking place,” she mentioned. “As soon as these signs began taking place, it went downhill fast.” She took him to the emergency room, the place docs mentioned it was in all probability the start levels of schizophrenia.
Keosha, who labored as a psychological well being case supervisor earlier than turning 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 more likely 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 acquired 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 turned unresponsive, it appeared like the entire hospital ran to his bedside.
“It was like a scene from a type of medical exhibits. There have been twenty docs within the room, they usually mentioned, ‘He’s unresponsive. We have to get a mind MRI,’” she mentioned. “Everyone at Duke is aware of who my child is. That’s the type 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 folks. Not a lot is understood concerning the situation, which Keosha mentioned 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 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 point, lack of muscle coordination, character modifications, reminiscence issues, and modifications in listening to or speech. However case stories within the situation after SARS-CoV-2 an infection are restricted.
“Once I went to Google, there was no one like my child. There was no level of reference. So I wish to be sure that his story will get out in order that others can have that time of reference,” she mentioned. “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.