By Douglas Whitbread via SWNS
A worried m0m has called for children under 12 to be vaccinated against COVID-19 after her son was left fighting for his life after contracting a deadly illness linked to the disease.
Ganga Gnanaraj's son Shenan, 11, was struck down with Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome (PIMS) just weeks after a mild case of COVID-19.
Little is known about the rare condition, but experts believe it can take hold weeks after kids get COVID-19, when their immune system rapidly over-reacts.
The schoolboy was given just a 50 percent chance of survival after the illness sparked a raft of terrifying symptoms, including a swelling on his neck and hallucinations.
The concerned mom took her son to A&E three times before he was admitted to hospital, after medics first misdiagnosed him with tonsilitis.
Specialist teams from around the country rushed to treat Shenan using a cocktail of drugs during a frantic two-week ordeal.
Although he finally pulled through a few weeks later, Shenan was left with a damaged heart and still remains in isolation over fears he will get another infection.
He couldn't get the vaccine, which is only available to those aged 12 and over in the UK, but Ganga believes, based on her experiences, that younger kids should have access to it.
She said: “I think more younger children should be vaccinated, because I’ve had all three doses anyway, and I didn’t get it.”
“It was just so upsetting what was going on. He’d never been poorly like this. He’d never get ill.
“We don’t know if his heart damage will be lifelong.”
Ganga, from Chesterfield, England, said Shenan got COVID-19 on December 8, last year, but became very unwell again three weeks later, on December 29.
She said: “At around 2am, he woke me up with a headache.
“But it didn’t clear up, and the temperature was really high – 39.9c, something like that – so I took him to A&E on that day.”
Doctors later discharged Shenan saying they thought he might have a common “virus."
But more worrying symptoms emerged when he got back home, including a “massive” swelling on his neck and hallucinations.
Ganga said: “He started hallucinating. I just couldn’t understand what he was saying.
"He was just like, “Look, Can’t you see it?” This is them!” I was like, “What’s there? There’s nothing there.”
She added: “He had a massive lump on his neck, just before his ear on the neck – it was massive. So he couldn’t move his head or anything.”
Ganga took him back to A&E for a second time, but doctors believed that he had tonsilitis and discharged him.
On the evening of December 31, the worried mom then rushed him back to the hospital as her sick son was struggling to breath and he was finally admitted.
Ganga said that doctors only discovered he had potentially deadly PIMS when she asked them to check for it.
She said: “Two of my friends sent me an article from a woman who had PIMS. I never heard about PIMS, but they sent me those links to read.”
“So I asked that doctor, has he got PIMS? He said: “Who told you about PIMS?” Then he said: “I don’t think so, every child is different.”
“But his temperature still didn’t go down. So they thought ‘that’s not right,' and they tried to check everything. They later told me, on January 1, ‘We think he’s got PIMS’.”
The following day, Ganga got the devastating news that Shenan might only have a 50 percent chance of survival and needed to go to an ICU at Sheffield Children’s hospital.
She said: “I was crying. It was just so upsetting what was going on.
“For two weeks, I didn’t sleep at all – I was up with him the whole night.”
Specialists were drafted in from all across the country to look after the boy, and they managed to soothe his symptoms with a drug usually used for arthritic patients.
But despite surviving the disease, they told Ganga that it had left his heart damaged, and today, they are still unsure whether it will heal completely.
Ganga said: “He’s got a leaky valve, and he’s got a visible coronary artery, which is unusual."
“They’ve referred him to Leeds Heart hospital now. We’re just waiting for the appointment.
She added: “He has to stay at home, he can’t go to school because of the infections at the moment.”
Ganga, whose family are all vaccinated and unaffected by the virus, now says that as soon as her son turns 12 in September, she will ensure that he gets the jab.
She said: “It definitely might have made a difference if he had the vaccine. I think it would have helped. We weren’t sure if he was still going to be here – it was that bad.”
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