Healthy teen required a heart transplant due to complications from coronavirus

Graig Graziosi
·3-min read
A teenager in Idaho had to receive a heart transplant due to complications caused by Covid-19 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
A teenager in Idaho had to receive a heart transplant due to complications caused by Covid-19 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A teenager who was described by doctors as "otherwise healthy" had to undergo a heart transplant due to complications caused by Covid-19.

Dr Kenny Bramwell, the medical director at St Luke's Children's Hospital in Idaho, shared the story as a way to reassert the danger that the coronavirus can pose to people of all ages.

"Sadly, we have had a few dozen cases of Covid-19 that have required hospitalisation of children here locally," Dr Bramwell said.

He said one of the hospital's most serious cases involved a teenager whose heart condition deteriorated to the point where they had to be transferred to another city to receive a heart transplant.

Anita Kissee, a spokeswoman for the hospital, announced the teenager's condition on 13 October.

"@StLukesHealth Children's is sad to let our community know that one of our pediatric MIS-C cases as a result of #Covid19 has taken a serious turn and was rushed to SLC where they are waiting now for a heart transplant. This was an otherwise healthy teenager prior to coronavirus," she tweeted.

There are no further details regarding the teen's condition.

“While Covid-19 is commonly inconsequential for many people, there are a subset of people who become exceptionally sick,” Dr Bramwell said. “Sometimes it’s sick enough to require a heart transplant and sometimes a chronic problem where somebody has difficulty breathing or moving around their home or doing their normal activities for months.”

Dr Bramwell's comments stand in contrast to those of Donald Trump, who claimed in August that children are "essentially immune" to the coronavirus. While the US Centres for Disease Control agrees that younger people with the virus tend to have more mild symptoms when symptoms do manifest, it does agree with Dr Bramwell that children are just as susceptible to contracting the virus as adults.

"I think for the most part, [children] don't get very sick, they don't catch it very easily, and ... they don't transfer it to other people, or certainly not very easily," Mr Trump said. While he is correct that most children don't get very sick if they contract the virus, a child with the virus can transfer the virus to another person as easy as any infected adult could.

Mr Trump made the comments at a time when he was pushing for schools to reopen.

Earlier this month, Politico reported that a then-Trump administration official pressured the CDC to change the title of a scientific report to remove the word "pediatric" from its text.

The official, Paul Alexander, sent a letter quibbling with the researchers about the language it used, and asked them to stop using the word "pediatric" to describe patients over the age of 18. The CDC uses the word "pediatric" for cases involving anyone under the age of 21, which is in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics' definition of the term.

In the end, the report's title was changed to remove the words "children, adolescents, and young adults" to instead be replaced with "persons." In addition, three instances of the word "pediatric" were removed.

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