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Local teen reflects on MIS-C illness after battling COVID-19, doctor speaks on syndrome

Updated: Feb. 5, 2021 at 8:58 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - MIS-C is a rare multi-inflammatory syndrome that comes after a COVID-19 diagnosis, requiring hospitalization. Now a Lubbock teen is speaking out about their arduous journey while battling MIS-C at Covenant Health.

One week after having COVID-19, 13-year-old Evan Velasquez developed the mysterious syndrome, which attacks at least two organ systems, landing him in the hospital. Doctors say it can develop weeks after a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Evan is one of 54 confirmed kids and teens in Texas who have had the syndrome. Dr. Lara Johnson, a pediatric hospitalist with the Texas Tech Physicians at Covenant Health, says Covenant can see between two and four cases of MIS-C a week, and there was one death in November.

Cheryl Velasquez, Evan’s mom, thought the first night at the hospital doctors would tell them it might be appendicitis; but things got worse. Fever and rash were his presenting symptoms.

“And by Tuesday, he had 105.5 fever. Very, very, very sick,” said Cheryl.

Evan was diagnosed with MIS-C, which Dr. Johnson says can be found in those up to 21 years of age.

Dr. Johnson says MIS-C has many symptoms including:

“Their skin, their G.I. system, the heart, the lungs, but there’s actually a wide variation that we see in how kids present.”

“They may have red lips and red eyes, and a significant skin rash along with fever. Whereas some kids may present more with abdominal pain and really have more symptoms that are related to abdominal pain,” said Dr. Johnson.

The Texas Department of State Health Services says one percent of the kids who get it die from it.

For Evan, it landed him in the pediatric intensive care unit for five days. Dr. Johnson says some families don’t even know they had COVID in the first place due to being asymptomatic.

“It was just pain where everything was like, on my body,” said Evan.

Evan’s dad, Jeremy, said Evan had a central line I.V. that pumped five to six bags of fluids into Evan, and heart monitors.

Doctors told the Velasquez family that Evan could possibly end up with congestive heart failure.

“They didn’t know if he was gonna make it or not.” Cheryl said.

“I was scared,” Evan said.

Cheryl said all of a sudden things started picking up for the better and doctors liked what they were seeing.

Now, Cheryl Velasquez wants all parents who have had kids with COVID-19 to keep a close eye on their kids to make sure other symptoms do not develop later like they did in Evan.

Today, Evan is recovered but still has symptoms of pain and fatigue and sees a cardiologist for checkups.

Cheryl created a Facebook page called “MIS-C Support Group” for families to meet, exchange information and support each other. It’s reached countries overseas and all 50 states.

To find the support group, click here.

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