SAN DIEGO — An Oceanside, California mother says her 3-year-old son fell ill with a severe case of a rare COVID-19 complication, which sent him to the hospital for several days.
Brielle Bracey, her husband Devon and son Kawhi all tested positive for COVID-19 in early February. Brielle Bracey had the most severe symptoms. Kawhi appeared to be asymptomatic.
"We did watch him and monitor him, but he was his normal self," Brielle Bracey said.
A month later, last Wednesday, Kawhi woke up sick.
"Violently shaking and crying. He goes to walk, and he's trembling and falls to the ground," Bracey said.
At Rady Children's Hospital, Kawhi was diagnosed with pneumonia and MIS-C, which stands for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, an inflammatory reaction that occurs about two to six weeks after exposure to COVID-19 or a positive test.
"It's hard dealing with watching your child struggle to survive," Bracey said.
Kawhi developed a fever, a blotchy rash all over his body, and stomach pains. His heart wasn't pumping correctly. His oxygen levels dropped to dangerous levels.
"Telling him it's going to be okay. He's in pain ... It's the hardest thing having your child cry, 'Please mommy, help me,'" Bracey said.
Kawhi's treatment regimen included oxygen, blood transfusion, steroids and Anakinra, a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
A week later, there are signs of hope. Kawhi's heart issues have improved, though his oxygen levels are not all the way back. Bracey said she's hopeful Kawhi will be released in the next few weeks.
"They're saying, probably for the rest of his life, they're going to have to monitor his heart," Bracey said.
Bracey says she's sharing her story to increase awareness, so parents can get help quickly.
"Wouldn't wish this on anyone. No parent should go through this. No child should have to suffer like this," Bracey said.
Since April, Rady Children's Hospital has reported nearly 60 cases of MIS-C, with the majority of those cases being diagnosed in the last few months.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help with Kawhi's care and other expenses.
This story was originally published by Michael Chen on KGTV in San Diego.