A 12-year-old girl was left fighting for her life in ICU after her mum claimed she had suffered a rare bout of post-Covid symptoms.
Mia Lily was put on medication for heart failure as her exhausted body battled with the long-term side effects from a bout with Covid a month earlier.
The girl was suffering from Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome better known as PIMS, which is a very rare and long-term Covid effect seen in less than 0.5 per cent of children who have had the virus.
If untreated, the inflammation from the condition can cause tissue damage, poor function of vital organs or even death.
Her worried mum Stacey Cummins told Dublin Live : “Throughout all this, she had shortness of breath and chest pains, and we thought it was a problem with her asthma.
“Blood tests picked up an infection in her body and an X-ray told us that her heart was inflamed, the left side of her heart was huge too.”
The Cummins family from Finglas, Dublin tested positive for Covid on February 21 but had no symptoms and returned to life as normal after 10 days of isolation.
But Mia started to feel sick in the night on March 22, similar to a bad asthma infection.
When she started complaining of a sore throat, the family was told she just had a viral infection and was sent home.
Not long after they had to rush to hospital because of the extensive pain Mia was in.
Stacey said: “I have another child and if it was them, I wouldn’t have gone back in but it’s just because Mia has asthma and it frightens me when she says she can’t breathe.
“I want parents to ask if it could be something more and not to be afraid to question a doctor. This is a post effect in children four to six weeks after they have Covid.
“It’s this infection that goes through their body and mimics other infections which is causing doctors problems to diagnose PIMs. It’s hitting all the organs in their body.
“The majority of children with PIMs have bloodshot eyes and rashes, but Mia didn’t have either of them. And because she didn’t have them they weren’t checking for PIMs.”
At the hospital Mia was ‘in an awful state’ and went into ‘some state of shock’ her mum said, before she was assessed and found to have damage and inflammation to her heart.
Mia continued to get worse and complained of pains all over.
She added: “Parents should keep an eye on their kids from four to six weeks after Covid, and I would encourage parents to ask could it be PIMs so it can be picked up sooner.
“If Mia’s was picked up on Tuesday maybe the damage to her heart wouldn’t have been as bad. In every kid it’s different, it hits the body in different places.
“Just because Mia’s condition was around her heart doesn’t mean it’ll be the same with other kids.”
Fortunately Mia is on the road to recovery after spending time in the Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.
Stacey said: “Crumlin is doing case studies at the moment. They are finding that it is the pre-teenage groups. It’s children who had Covid with no symptoms whatsoever.
“The inflammation of Mia’s heart was picked up from the blood test and the medication called IVIG they give doesn’t help all children – some of their bodies don’t react to it.
“And if their body doesn’t react to it they have to put your child into a coma and on a ventilator.
“I can go on about the treatment and how Our Lady’s basically saved her life. I cannot thank the doctors and nurses of Our Lady’s enough.
“Please please keep an eye on your kids after they have had Covid and if you notice any of the symptoms, no matter how small, get them checked out.”