Trust your instincts — mum’s warning after son’s battle with new Covid-related illness

A MUM urged parents to “trust their instincts” after her son was hospitalised and diagnosed with a rare condition believed to be linked to coronavirus.

Katie Walker ferried eight-year-old Braxton between four different hospitals wondering why he suddenly had a high temperature, a rash and sickness.

She said: “I was terrified we were going to lose him.”

After being seen by doctors in Rotherham, Worksop, Doncaster and Sheffield, Braxton was diagnosed with paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PIMS-TS).

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Katie (30, pictured below with Braxton), of Thurcroft, added that medics had told her the condition was like her son’s organs were “wanting to burst out of his body”.

She warned: “This condition is very real, but still not much is known about it.

“As a mother, it was frustrating to go between several hospitals not knowing what was wrong with Braxton, but I knew something wasn’t right.”

At one stage, Katie said, Braxton was in so much pain he had told her “he hoped he wasn’t going to die”.

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Information online from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said PIMS-TS was “very rare” and it was yet unclear on the number of children affected.

Braxton was found to have Covid-19 on November 6 — despite having displayed no symptoms.

He was checked after health support worker Katie, who is regularly screened at work, tested positive a week earlier.

She said she wanted to get Braxton and her husband James tested as a precaution, adding: “Myself and James were pretty poorly, but Braxton was absolutely fine.”

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Three weeks later, Braxton became ill with a high temperature, was being sick and later developed a rash.

Katie took her son to Rotherham Hospital three times between November 29 and December 1, after being advised by NHS 111, but said doctors kept sending him home and prescribed medication in the belief he had viral gastroenteritis and bacterial tonsillitis.

Not satisfied with her son’s diagnosis — and with his condition worsening to include an aggressive rash, hallucinations and swollen hands and feet — Katie and James decided to take Braxton to Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop.

“We were seen straight away and Braxton was put in a side room for tests as doctors thought he had meningitis,” Katie said. “He was given antibiotics and were told to prepare for a transfer to Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

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“Braxton could now hardly walk. His head was hurting as was his tummy and groin area. Little did we know the nightmare was just starting.”

Blood tests revealed Braxton had PIMS-TS and would need to go to Sheffield Children’s Hospital for specialist care. He was admitted on December 3 and spent eight days there.

“I knew it must have been bad as Braxton said he hoped he wasn’t going to die,” said Katie. “To me, that proved just how much pain he was in. The whole ordeal was terrifying.”

Braxton finally began responding well to treatment with steroids, aspirin, lansoprazole and vitamin D — but his symptoms included a high heart rate for several days, a rash, swollen hands and feet and an enlarged heart and spleen. At one stage it was feared he may need emergency surgery.

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Braxton is now recovering but still being regularly tested and monitored.

“Nobody knows what the future holds for our son, but I think other parents need to be aware of this condition,” Katie said.

“Trust your instincts because we as parents know our children better than anybody and our opinion also matters.”

The RCPCH said PIMS-TS was rare but any child who had a temperature above 38 deg C, had cold hands and feet and was sleepy should be treated immediately, with parents and carers advised to call their GP or 111.