Eight-month-old Alexander Parsons is said to be the youngest victim of Kawasaki disease, which inflames blood vessels.
One of the leading pediatricians president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, Professor Russell Viner – was so worried that he wrote to the NHS about the danger on April 25 – the day Alex died.
It is thought that the disease could be triggered by a reaction to the coronavirus. Doctors gave the fatality a new name, PIMS-TS, in the fight against Covid-19.
Alex had no underlying health issues and was photographed smiling and playing only two hours before suffering from an aneurysm rupture.
His devastated mother Kathryn Rowlands, 29, said, “I can’t believe I carried him longer than he was alive. I will never be whole again.
“And more parents will be in the same unimaginable position unless the government starts listening to the advice of scientists and stops playing with people’s lives.”
“The doctors and nurses who fought to save Alex were incredible – but if they knew more about the Covid-Kawasaki connection, perhaps they could have done more. “
The first signs of Alex’s disease were a sunburn-like rash, high temperature, and swollen lymph nodes. He then developed a serious illness and his hands and the soles of his feet turned red.
“We thought it was a viral infection,” said Kath, a stay-at-home mom.
“We called 111 and they said it could be mumps. When he started vomiting, we called back. “
Alex was admitted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth on April 6 and diagnosed with Kawasaki disease the following day. The disease usually affects children under the age of five – but pandemic-affected Europe has seen more than 200 suspected cases in children up to 14 years of age.
And in Italy, 10 young people with Covid-19 started showing some or all of Kawasaki’s symptoms, the medical journal Lancet reported.
When Alex’s health deteriorated, he was transferred to the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. Cardiac analysis revealed several coronary aneurysms, enlarged arteries and fluid. He died the following night.
“I was about to try to calm him down but he was so upset,” said Kathryn. “He cried in a way I hadn’t heard. I held it and sang to her, then her head came back. He was soft in my arms. “
Staff fought for almost an hour to revive him. He never regained consciousness.
“Half the time they were trying to bring him back, I stayed in the corner of the room because I didn’t want him to think I had left him,” said Kathryn.
“Then I sat in a chair outside. I could see him on the bed and his vital signs were showing on a machine. I just kept watching it, hoping it would change. Then the doctors came out and said that an aneurysm had burst and there was nothing they could do. I entered and lay down next to him. “
Alarmingly, the restrictions on Covid-19 meant that Alex Jon’s father couldn’t be there when his son died.
“It’s a 2.5 hour trip from the children’s hospital to the house and only one of us could be with him at the time because of the virus,” said Jon, 30, a gas engineer . “I spent the day with him then went home to sleep.
“I was getting ready for bed when I got a hysterical call from Kath. I couldn’t hear what she was saying so a nurse picked up the phone and explained that Alex had had a heart attack. ”
Devon and Cornwall Police turned on Jon in Bristol. But it was too late. “I discovered it was over before I got there,” he said. “When we arrived, the nurses brought me into the room and Kath and Alex were both lying there. I hugged them. “
Kathryn and Jon are now waiting for the autopsy report and are preparing for the funeral of their only child. “I want A Thousand Years by Christina Perri to be played because I sang that a lot to Alex,” said Kathryn.
“It is the best thing I have ever done. I had a simple pregnancy and he was born to a healthy and happy baby.
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“It was my greatest achievement. He could have continued to do whatever he wanted with his life. Now he’s only eight months old.
“The government must explore the link between Covid and Kawasaki and disseminate the information instead of remaining silent.
“The fact that they want the kids to go back to school on June 1 is insane. More children will die. “
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Europe and the United States have experienced a sharp increase in Covid-linked Kawasaki disease in recent weeks. At least four other children – three in New York and one in France – died from the disease. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said Friday that Europe has seen around 230 suspected cases in children up to 14 years of age.
And doctors in Bergamo, Italy, have reported a 30-fold increase in similar disorders in young children.
To help support the family, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/hannah-rowlands-1. For parental support, see Kawasaki Support Group UK on Facebook