Young girl struck down by rare illness weeks after 'beating coronavirus'

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·3-min read

The family of a young girl who recovered from coronavirus have shared a heartbreaking picture of her battling a different disease just weeks later.

Five-year-old Scarlett was fit and healthy until she suffered from a mild bout COVID-19 about five weeks ago.

Her family said on Twitter she appeared to recover but was then rushed to ICU with Kawasaki inflammatory response – a disease of blood vessels that most commonly occurs in infants and young children.

According to The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, it is an uncommon illness, with around 200 to 300 cases diagnosed in Australia each year.

It occurs when vessels in the body become inflamed, including the coronary arteries on the heart.

Pictured is Scarlett in a hospital bed on a ventilator.
Scarlett had a 20 per cent chance of survival while battling Kawasaki disease. Source: Twitter

The hospital says Kawasaki disease is a collection of symptoms caused by the inflammation – however, what exactly causes it is unknown.

“It is most likely an abnormal response by the immune system of some children to a common germ,” the hospital said on its website.

Scarlett, who lives in the UK, was taken off the ventilator while in ICU but then developed heart problems.

“Her parents, a doctor (mum) and teacher (dad), want her story shared as they not only have this dreadfully intimate personal experience but are both at the frontline of the crisis and see firsthand how schools will be the next frontline,” the girl’s great aunt wrote on Twitter.

“My nephew and his wife want the UK to know they are appalled at proposals to bring back the school full year groups on June 1. They expect, as do the teaching and medical unions, more cases like that of their daughter if the government persists this plan.

“My nephew wants to get back to full-time face-to-face teaching as soon as possible. But using his daughter and those like her as guinea pigs is an unconscionable risk and one we cannot take while so little is known about the illness that felled her.”

Scarlett’s dad Piers Roberts wrote on Twitter she had a 20 per cent chance of surviving until discharge.

“COVID-19 caught at school before schools shut – six weeks of being fit and well – multi organ failure and a broken family,” he said.

While the news was bleak for the family, they announced a positive development on Wednesday that she was finally able to go home.

Pictured is Scarlett laying in her hospital bed smiling. Source: Twitter
Scarlett recovered from coronavirus before a battle with Kawasaki disease. Source: Twitter

“I have no doubt her recovery is because she is so robust,” her mother Naomi wrote on Facebook.

“By how she was a week ago is remarkable.

“I’ve taken her nasogastric tube out and one cannula as she doesn’t want anyone else to touch her.

“She still has her working cannula and central line for bloods and in case she needs a transfusion. She also needs an echo [on Wednesday] and a follow-up echo.”

The mother said she owed the hospital for saving her daughter’s life.

“You never expect to need your child’s life saving and I owe them everything – this disease is treatable when caught fast – it’s a battle but treatable.”

It comes after eight-month-old Alexander Parsons died after being diagnosed with Kawasaki disease in April.

He had previously tested negative to coronavirus tests.

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