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‘My worst nightmare’: Mother speaks after 11-year-old son suffers heart problems due to COVID-19

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 1:27 AM PST
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CRESTON, Iowa (KCCI) - An Iowa mother is warning others to take COVID-19 seriously after her 11-year-old son ended up in the hospital with a rare but potentially life-threatening complication from the virus.

Jaxson Green, 11, is now home and doing well, but in November, he was in the hospital after he caught a seemingly mild case of COVID-19. His mother, Heather Green, says at first, he was only sick for a couple days before he recovered and headed back to school.

The Greens thought the worst was over, but on Nov. 20, all of that changed.

Jaxson Green, 11, ended up in the cardiac intensive care unit, where doctors diagnosed him with...
Jaxson Green, 11, ended up in the cardiac intensive care unit, where doctors diagnosed him with myocarditis, after a seemingly mild case of COVID-19 in November.(Source: Green Family, KCCI via CNN)

“Before he went to bed, he told his dad he wasn’t feeling very good, and he had a low-grade fever,” Green said. “And that morning… he woke up grabbing his chest, telling his dad it hurt and he couldn’t breathe. He got a bloody nose. Jaxson described it as just gushing down his shirt, and he passed out.”

Jaxson ended up in the cardiac intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska, where doctors diagnosed him with myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle.

“They told me that he was in the beginning stages of heart failure. He was beginning to retain fluid, having a high fever. His heart rate was very fast. He was almost in a state of shock,” Green said. “It was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through.”

Dr. Melissa Cullimore, who treated Jaxson, says myocarditis is a rare but serious COVID-19 complication seen in children. It can be deadly because it causes the heart to not squeeze as well.

Jaxson is doing great now, but Cullimore says it’s unclear if he’ll have long-term complications because not enough is known about COVID-19.

“We are definitely concerned, but maybe we’re hopeful that the long-term complications won’t be as severe as we’re watching out for,” she said.

The 11-year-old is now part of a nationwide study led by Boston Children’s Hospital that is gathering data and running tests to figure out why certain children end up with severe complications from the virus. Jaxson did not have any pre-existing conditions.

Green says Jaxson’s ordeal has dramatically changed her outlook on COVID-19, and now, she is urging others to do their part.

“Before this happened to us, I truly thought it was more of a hoax,” she said. “Wear your masks when you’re out and about, properly, and maintain your social distancing.”

Copyright 2021 KCCI via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.