Steuben County boy recovering from syndrome potentially connected to coronavirus

Andrew Hyman
Created: May 11, 2020 12:04 AM

ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) –A Steuben County boy is out of the hospital, and on the road to recovery after a brush with a newly-discovered syndrome that is possibly tied to the coronavirus.

Nine-year-old Bobby Dean is believed to be the first child in our area to be diagnosed with pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, which is being linked to at least three deaths and 85 cases statewide.

Bobby and his mother Amber, and father Michael were back at their home in Hornell on Sunday night. They say Bobby’s condition is improving, which Amber says is a positive step in what was otherwise a tough week. 

She says the problems started last Sunday, as Bobby began throwing up, and could not keep down any fluids, or food.

As his condition worsened into Monday, he was taken to the emergency room at St. James Hospital in Hornell, from there, he visited his doctor, and was given a test for both strep throat and COVID-19. By Tuesday morning, Bobby had continued to deteriorate with excruciating pain. Amber and Michael took Bobby to Golisano Children's Hospital. 

He tested positive for the virus and was put into the pediatric intensive care unit, or PICU. At the time, he was severely dehydrated and had a rapid heart rate. 

“It’s not easy to have your kid hooked up to machines," Amber says. "It's been pretty much a rollercoaster, the first half of it was all concern for him because we did have a lot of emotion and concern as to whether he was going to pull through." 

A few days later, Bobby tested negative for the virus, but his condition was still poor. That’s when doctors told Amber they believed Bobby had the syndrome, which has symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome.

 While the syndrome is new, doctors believe COVID-19 may be triggering an overreaction of the immune system in some children like Bobby. In total, Bobby spent five days in the hospital. 

Amber says her family had been quarantined for two weeks after they were exposed to the virus in early April. She says her sister, who was staying with the family, works at Hornell Gardens nursing home and likely brought the virus home.

She says her symptoms were relatively mild, but Bobby ‘got the worst of it.’ Amber and Michael’s other two children are currently quarantining at a relatives’ home, as they had previously been staying there the last week. They’re expected to be back home sometime next week.

While Bobby’s condition is improving, Amber called the situation is ‘scary’ and says she would not advocate for parents to let their kids out in public. Looking ahead, she says Bobby will have to take a mix of medications for the next several weeks and will continue to be monitored.  Right now, she says there’s concern over what possible long-term impact the syndrome could have on his heart.

“It was not a fun ride, but it definitely one that kind of taught us, you know, kids are susceptible to this, and it does hit them a little bit harder when they do get it,"  Amber says.

Symptoms to look out for can include fever, red eyes, diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, inflammation, and in some cases even cardiac arrest.

“Pay attention,” Michael says. “If your child does show any stomach bugs or flu-like symptoms, don’t be afraid to reach out and look into it more, I’d hate to see them wait and hold off and have to go what we went through.”


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