Louisville family almost lost son to rare condition associated with COVID

Louisville family almost lost son to rare condition associated with COVID

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville family went to the hospital because their son had a fever, and 24 hours later he was in the ICU, barely hanging on.

He was the first in Kentucky to have a mysterious condition linked to COVID-19. His medical journey has brought about a new clinic to help others like him.

Last May, 11-year-old Carmelo Blaine wasn’t feeling well.

“I told my mom something was wrong with me and she took me to the hospital,” Blaine said.

The boy had a fever, red eyes and stomach pain, but no immediate diagnosis. Doctors thought he may have Kawasaki disease. Things went from bad to worse quickly.

“Kind of getting emotional,” said Montrell Blaine, Carmelo’s father. “It’s just bringing back the memories that I went through as a father.”

”Within 24 hours, we were in the ICU, hooked up to ventilator,” Asia Wickliffe, Carmelo’s mother, said.

Doctors told the boy’s parents to prepare to say goodbye to their son.

”All we did was pray at that point,” Wickliffe said.

Doctors eventually determined Carmelo had multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, also known as MIS-C, a rare but serious complication associated with COVID-19.

”The acute COVID may have not caused any problems for the child, but a really high fever three to four weeks later, they need to get checked,” said Dr. Brian Holland, chief of pediatric cardiology at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine.

MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

Since Carmelo, 39 other children were treated for it at Norton Children’s Hospital. Now, the hospital has created a special, multidisciplinary clinic. A team of doctors monitors a child for any effects of MIS-C, since doctors are learning about it in real time.

“When they come into clinic, I see them as a cardiologist,” Holland said. “They see a pediatric rheumatologist, inflammation specialist, and a pediatric infectious disease doctor all at the same time.”

The reason for the team approach is because the syndrome is still a new phenomenon, and not a lot is known about the effects of the condition. Carmelo is the reason Norton Children’s developed the clinic.

”Now, they got other kids going through and doctors know what to do,” Carmelo Blaine said.

After two weeks in the hospital, Carmelo is doing well, now back to football and his family.

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