East Tenn. girl recovers from syndrome connected to COVID-19

Family credits faith, community and East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.
Published: Feb. 1, 2021 at 6:08 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - “It really ached and it felt like I was being stabbed, I guess.” Nine-year-old Parker McKamey explained how much her stomach hurt right before her parents decided to take her to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital for help.

The family had been ruling out various other ailments at other local doctors’ clinics that week, but her symptoms had become increasingly worse.

Mom Sherri McKamey said Parker described her symptoms as “her neck was hurting still, her back was hurting, the rash was still there, the high fever was still there, she developed red eyes, her eyes were bloodshot.”

She and her husband, James, sought medical help for their daughter at ETCH and then watched doctors determine more about her condition. “By the doctor doing the COVID antibody test, that’s what honed them along with her symptoms that it was the MIS-C.”

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome involves inflammation throughout the body, and can endanger vital organs. The Centers for Disease Control is studying its connection to a child’s exposure weeks earlier to Covid-19. The CDC reports that Tennessee has had more than 50 cases so far during the pandemic. ETCH has had at least 9 confirmed cases it has treated.

Dr. Joe Childs at ETCH said doctors have seen these symptoms before. “It mimics another syndrome that we’ve observed in kids for a long time called Kawasaki Syndrome. It’s just inflammation of various part of the body.” Dr. Childs said these instances are very rare compared to all of the children who have been exposed to the coronavirus.

The most serious concern for the McKamey family is that Parker still needs a follow-up from a heart specialist. “The syndrome did impact her heart,” said Sherri McKamey. “So, we’ll be under the care of a cardiologist for some time.”

The McKamey family is thankful for the treatment from ETCH in the intensive care unit which they say involved special infusions that helped their daughter fight off what was causing the inflammation throughout her body.

“My prayer was that God would heal her, that God would protect her organs and that God would get the glory,” said Sherri McKamey.

She has yet to be able to return to school, but she and her family are hopeful about her recovery. Parker said, “You just maybe gotta fight because God is gonna help you go through all this.”

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