Teenager who died of Covid-19 attended church gathering before being given hydroxychloroquine

Graig Graziosi
The drug hydroxychloroquine is displayed at the Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah: REUTERS

An immunocompromised teenager in Florida died from Covid-19 after attending a church party and being given hydroxychloroquine.

Carsyn Leigh Davis, 17, died in June after contracting coronavirus. The Fort Myers teen’s death shocked the community and prompted thousands of dollars worth of donations towards GoFundMe campaigns to honour her memory.

The Washington Post reported that Ms Davis had battled health issues her entire life, including cancer and a rare autoimmune disorder.

Ms Davis’s death re-entered the spotlight after the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner’s report was made public and revealed details of the teen’s last weeks. Rebekah Jones, a data scientist in Florida, shared Ms Davis’s story in a Twitter thread that subsequently went viral.

Prior to her death, Ms Davis apparently attended a church party that was attended by approximately 100 students. Mask usage and social distancing was not enforced at the party, and Ms Davis reportedly attended without wearing a face covering.

After she contracted the virus, Ms Davis’s parents gave her hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug pushed by president Donald Trump as an effective coronavirus treatment but has been labelled dangerous by the US Food and Drug Administration for causing heart rhythm problems that could lead to death.

Ms Davis’s mother wrote a Facebook post describing her daughter’s hospitalisation and complained that the doctors would not give her the drug.

“I am quarantined in her room with her and assisting in her care. The doctors are refusing to give her Hydroxychloroquine, citing “new studies” that it does not work and can be harmful. Using it is against their policy,” she wrote. “This is very upsetting to me, as many of you know how I feel about that.”

An advocacy site dedicated to Covid-19 victims in Florida accused Ms Davis’s mother of taking her to a “Covid Party” to “intentionally expose her immuno-comrpromised daughter to this virus.”

Ms Davis’s mother – who works as a nurse – previously wrote Facebook posts decrying mandatory mask usage and encouraged readers to send letters to elected officials opposing the mandates.

Ms Davis was an active member of her community, regularly attending church functions and spending her time volunteering and participating in her school’s varsity bowling team.

The party Ms Davis attended was advertised as a “Release Party” and a Facebook post from the church said the party would include “free food, a DJ and music and the start of our new sermon series.”

The church’s Facebook page has since been taken down.

The medical examiner’s report said that Ms Davis reported feeling ill after she began taking the drugs her parents gave her, and at one point her mother observed that she “looked grey” while she was sleeping. Her mother gave her oxygen that her grandfather used to fight COPD.

It is currently unclear whether Ms Davis had a prescription for hydroxychloroquine.

After the oxygen incident, Ms Davis was taken to a nearby medical centre and it was confirmed that she had contracted the coronavirus. The girl’s parents decided against having her intubated and opted instead for her to receive plasma therapy, according to the medical examiner’s report.

Unfortunately none of the hospital’s attempts to save Ms Davis were effective and the girl died two days after her 17th birthday.

Ms Jones – who maintains the Florida Covid-19 victim’s website and was fired by the Florida Department of Health for refusing to change how the state publicized its public data – said Ms Davis’s story was especially saddening to her.

“Every death on this website is heartbreaking. Every minute lost in someone’s life is a tragedy,” Ms Jones wrote on her site. “But this one will stick with me long after this virus has torn through our communities.”

The GoFundMe for Ms Davis has raised $13,990 as of Tuesday.

Her mother posted a statement on the GoFundMe page.

“We are incredibly saddened by her passing at this young age, but are comforted that she is pain free,” she wrote. “Heaven gained an angel.”

Read more

FDA revokes emergency use of Trump-promoted drug for Covid-19

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting.