The Detroit News announced this week that the Motor City has lost its first child to coronavirus. Skylar Herbert died on Sunday after being disconnected from a ventilator. She was 5 years old.
An article published on April 19 reported that after being brought to the hospital on March 29, Skylar was diagnosed with “meningoencephalitis, a rare complication of the coronavirus, which caused swelling of brain tissue and a lesion on her frontal lobe.”
Skylar initially showed signs of improvement, with her mother stating that she was at point able to walk to the bathroom and spoke of feeling reduced pain. However, her condition regressed and she had to be put on a ventilator.
“She was really in and out as far as sleeping,” her mother, LaVondria Herbert, was quoted as saying. “They just cut out a small hole in the front of her head and stuck the tube in so that the fluid could drain.” Those efforts ultimately proved futile.
“We decided to take her off the ventilator today because her improvement had stopped, the doctors told us that it was possible she was brain dead, and we basically just knew she wasn’t coming back to us,”
Skyler was receiving treatment at Beaumont Health, and the hospital put out a statement confirming that the 5-year-old had passed away.
“We are heartbroken that COVID-19 has taken the life of a child. We extend our deepest sympathy to Skylar’s family and all others who have lost a loved one to this virus,” the statement read.
Second fatal case of brain swelling
Skylar was Michigan’s second known case of someone dying of coronavirus-related brain swelling. On April 1, The Detroit News reported that a 58-year-old woman had fallen victim to acute necrotizing encephalitis.
“The team had suspected encephalitis at the outset, but then back-to-back CT and MRI scans made the diagnosis,” Henry Ford neurologist Dr. Elissa Fory said.
“This is significant for all providers to be aware of and looking out for in patients who present with an altered level of consciousness,” Fory continued.
“We need to be thinking of how we’re going to incorporate patients with severe neurological disease into our treatment paradigm. This complication is as devastating as severe lung disease.”
Data revealed by the state of Michigan show that the overwhelming majority of COVID-19 deaths have been among elderly citizens, with just over 5 percent of victims being below 50.