MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A 9-year-old Mid-South boy is happy to be feeling better Thursday after battling a scary illness brought on by COVID-19.
Holly Springs, Mississippi resident Ethen Hawkins says it was the worst thing he’s ever been through.
“All I just could feel was pain. That’s all I could feel,” he said.
His mother Shranda Hawkins could only feel panic.
“I mean, he was in pain,” she said, “He was crying and he was like ‘mom, help me’, and there was nothing I could do.”
Her son spent most of last week at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital after developing Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children or MISC.
“I mean, he couldn’t walk,” Hawkins said, “He couldn’t move. You touch him, he was crying.”
The illness stems from COVID-19 but doesn’t show up until several weeks after infection. Young Ethen tested positive for COVID-19 in early November but never had any symptoms.
So, when he recently came down with a fever, his mom thought it was just a regular fever. However, the fever persisted as things got worse.
“He had stomach pain. He had diarrhea,” Hawkins said, “I’m like, something ain’t right.”
She took him to the hospital, where doctors discovered he had MISC. Thankfully, Ethen recovered and got back on his feet. Now, he says he’s feeling great.
Dr. Sandy Arnold is a pediatric infectious disease expert at Le Bonheur. She says MISC causes a wide range of symptoms, including a rash, difficulty breathing or abdominal pain. Fortunately, only a low percentage of children develop the illness.
“We don’t want people to lose sleep over this,” Arnold said.
But she does want parents to be aware.
“If your child has several days of high fever, have them checked out,” Arnold said.
MISC can lead to heart issues in children, and because of that Ethen has to have his heart checked every few months for a year. So far, he’s doing fine.
“After seeing what my son went through, I even went on Facebook and put the post up of what he was going through, because I want parents to be aware,” Hawkins said.