COVID hits kids hard in Michigan and can grow to rare, more serious diseases

Posted at 11:25 PM, Apr 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 11:44:40-04

(WXYZ) — The parents and doctors didn’t know 4-year-old Juliana Elkhoury had COVID. She tested negative. She started out with a low-grade fever, then it grew to red lips, a rash and a urinary tract infection. After a couple of visits, her pediatrician told her parents John and Michelle to take Juliana to the emergency.

That’s where they diagnosed the child with multi-system inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C for short, which is a rare disease that is caused by the body fighting off COVID-19.

“It’s still something we’re trying to digest," Michelle said. "We still haven’t really comprehended that yet because we all have antibodies and none of us had any symptoms.”

The disease attacks several organs. Treatment happened during six days in intensive care at Beaumont Royal Oak.

“We’re talking heart, kidneys, intestines, brains, skin, all of those different things. So we need to look at the child as a bigger picture,“ said Jaime Hope, MD an ER doctor at Beaumont.

The Elkhoury family lives in Macomb County. They didn’t want to keep this to themselves. They want everyone to know how serious COVID is still, especially with high infection rates among kids.

“It was just things you never thought you’d be talking about. We just want to get the word out there and we appreciate you giving us this time,” said John Elkhoury with the family of four talking on Zoom.

Another message from Dr. Hope to people who have other non-COVID emergencies: don’t put off coming in.

“We implore you to continue to seek emergency care," Dr. Hope said via Zoom. "We have cleaning protocols in place. We are continuing to be diligent with our PPE."

And little Juliana on the Zoom with her mom and dad and her 2-year old sister Alexandrea said in a bashful voice that she’s “good.” She will have to get tested until she’s 10 years old to find out if she has long-term complications.