A doctor in Penang recently has taken to social media to share about two children who suddenly lost their ability to walk due to Covid-19 infection.
Dr Lee, a 29-year-old Paediatric medical officer, shared on her Instagram account that she saw the two post-COVID-19 patients with the unusual complications within a week.
“The first case is a two-year-old child. Her whole family was positive for COVID-19 a month ago. They came to our ward at night because she suddenly couldn’t walk,” recounted the doctor.
The mother told her that her daughter started walking “like an old man” three weeks after they completed their COVID-19 quarantine, but within three days, she lost all ability to walk or even stand.
“Every time her mother tried to hold her into standing position, she will cry and then crash onto the floor like a puppet that got its strings cut,” the doctor said.
Lee added that the on-call specialist called other specialists to see the case but because COVID-19 is a novel disease, no one could give a definite answer.
“We just have to observe, treat, and see how it goes along the way. Couldn’t sleep the whole night,” she said.
Lee said the second case she saw was scarier.
According to her, the second case, a four-year-old girl, came to the hospital one week after completing COVID-19 quarantine with a seizure.
“And it’s not just any seizure, the episode lasted 40 minutes. Imagine 40 minutes seeing a child go on and off: uprolled eyes, blue, saliva flowing, whole body stiff, whole body shaking like she had been possessed by demon,” she said.
“The mother can only cry and watch while sending her to hospital. Imagine that mental trauma.”
Lee said the shaking only stopped after doctors gave the child intravenous medication to abort the seizure.
Then, on day three in the ward, Lee said the patient’s mother went up to her at the nurses’ station and called her to quickly look at her daughter, “Doctor, come see, the way my child is walking looks weird.”
The medical officer said these were initially healthy, normal children before they were infected with COVID-19.
They are both currently recovering, with the first case doing physiotherapy and the second started on an anti-epileptic medication.
Although there may be other diagnoses, she warned that long-term complications of COVID-19 are not completely understood yet, especially in children.
“So anything can happen. Imagine what COVID-19 can do to your child if anyone in the family spreads the disease to them,” she pleaded in the post that has garnered over 68,000 likes.
As prevention is best, she advised parents to be careful and to not expose children to crowded areas if possible, such as crowded parks, shopping malls, or picnic gatherings.
In a later post, she also encouraged parentsto vaccinate their children aged 12 to 17, to protect those who are younger and cannot be vaccinated.
The doctor’s viral post comes as medical experts around the world are also still learning more about the after effects of COVID-19 in children.
In a study recently published on 1 September, researchers in the UK found that as many as 1 in 7 children may have symptoms linked to COVID-19 months after testing positive, a condition that has been dubbed ‘long COVID’.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), long COVID can cause an autoimmune effect in the body, where the immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake, causing inflammation or tissue damage in all parts of the body, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, and brain.