Infant survives rare life-threatening COVID-related illness

CLEVELAND — Lauren Grant, a nurse and COVID-19 survivor, thought she’d seen the worst of the virus – until her daycare center texted her a photo of her 5-month-old daughter, Madelyn.

“Her hands and feet were blue,” said Lauren Grant, Madelyn’s mother. “I went and picked her up and I noticed that she was having some rapid respirations.”

Madelyn, who had recently recovered from COVID-19, was transported to Cleveland Clinic Children’s by ambulance.

“It was absolutely terrifying. My first instinct as a mother was – what’s going on? And then my second instinct, as a nurse, is she’s not getting enough oxygen,” Grant recalled. “My husband and I were just sitting there sobbing because we just didn’t know if she was going to make it or not.”

Tests revealed Madelyn’s heart was inflamed and racing.

“Normally, for a baby, their heart rates are anywhere from 100 to mid-100’s at rest,” said Heather Daniels, DO, an infectious disease specialist with Cleveland Clinic Children’s. “Hers was over 200 and it was going up to about 240 to 260. Because of that, she was quickly taken to the ICU.”

Madelyn was diagnosed with a rare COVID-complication called multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C.

“A lot of the body’s reaction to the previous infection causes it to ramp up and cause lots of inflammation,” said Dr. Daniels.

About 24-hours after receiving steroids and an antibody therapy to reduce inflammation, Madelyn’s condition improved.

“She was smiling again,” Grant said. “She was kind of moving around a little bit more and it really gave my husband and I some hope.”

After ten days of ups and downs in the hospital, Madelyn is doing well at home. Her mom is encouraging parents to keep a close eye on their children, especially if they’ve recently fought coronavirus.

“I feel like we were really lucky in that sense that Maddie didn’t have to be put on a ventilator,” said Grant. “And from what I’ve read, so far, is catching this early enough, so it doesn’t get to that point, and that’s why it’s super important to be able to recognize these symptoms in kids.”

Dr. Daniels encouraged parents to contact a health care provider if a child develops a prolonged or unexplained fever associated with a rash, red eyes or unusual abdominal pain, chest pain, diarrhea or difficulty breathing.

She added, most children who receive treatment for MIS-C recover and do well, however because the condition is still new, doctors aren’t sure what long-term implications may be

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