Detroit man with Down syndrome faces long recovery after battle with COVID-19

Posted at 11:15 AM, Oct 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-04 11:15:34-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Nearly 100,000 Michiganders have recovered from COVID-19. But the road to recovery can be a long one for some patients.

A Detroit man with Down syndrome contracted the virus earlier this year. Demetrius Shelton, 28, is back home after his battle.

Demetrius was rushed to DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital where he was diagnosed with COVID-19 back in April.

Tamika Simmons says her son was born with Down syndrome but doesn’t have any other health issues. She’s never been apart from Demetrius until he was hospitalized and because of the pandemic, she wasn’t allowed to be by his side.

“It was very hard not knowing what was going on with (my) son,”she explained. “It was hard every time I got a call from the doctor.”

Demetrius was unable to communicate and had to be put on a ventilator three different times.

“I had to have all the trust in the world in every doctor who called me. That’s all I could do,” she said.

Tamika finally got to video call from Demetrius once he was on the mend, but part of his recovery was learning to walk again.

Physical Therapist Esther Karunakar says despite trouble communicating and missing his mom, Demetrius had a positive attitude.

“He always had a smile on his face and he always put a smile on everybody’s face whoever was around him,” she said.

Finally, Demetrius was ready to go home in June. Tamika says Demetrius needed a wheelchair and then a walker. Now, he can walk on his own.

“He’s back to where he was,” Tamika added.

The family is raising money for Demetrius’s ongoing care.

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