Nevada boy goes home after month in Utah hospital battling COVID-19 complication

Oct 29, 2021, 7:47 PM | Updated: 8:18 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A 6-year-old boy is heading home to Las Vegas after more than a month at Primary Children’s Hospital fighting a rare COVID-19 complication.

Zyaire Bell underwent more than a half-dozen surgeries as doctors worked to save his life as he suffered from multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, according to his mother, Sharella Ruffin.

“I was so scared for his life,” Ruffin said in a video chat with KSL from her son’s hospital room. “In Nevada, they told me basically, ‘He ain’t going to make it.’ Like he was gone.”

Ruffin said she first took Zyaire to the hospital on Sept. 23 with a headache and rash. He was released, but while visiting the pediatrician the next day, he had a seizure and was rushed back to the hospital.

“He wasn’t moving. He wasn’t responsive,” Ruffin told KSL in early October. “They had to put an IV on him, run so many tests. It was a scary situation.”

After heart surgery in Las Vegas, Zyaire was flown to Primary Children’s Hospital.

Parents warn others about MIS-C after 6-year-old lands in intensive care

“I thank them so much for what they did for my baby,” Ruffin said Friday just before her son was released from the hospital.

“For my son to be walking and talking,” Ruffin went on to say. “That is the biggest blessing God can give me.”

She tells other parents to watch for symptoms of MIS-C — which can include fever, rash, headache, fatigue and abdominal pain.

“I didn’t know he had COVID,” Ruffin said about her son. “He didn’t show no signs of him having COVID.”

Primary Children’s Hospital reported on Friday that the facility is seeing an increase in cases of MIS-C as a result of the increase in COVID-19 cases in children after the start of school.

“It can occur after mild infection,” said Dr. Andrew Pavia, director of epidemiology at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital and chief of pediatric infectious diseases at University of Utah Health. “It is one of the most serious manifestations of COVID in children.”

Pavia said MIS-C typically occurs about 30 days after COVID infection and attacks the organ systems.

“It’s an abnormal immune response to the infection,” he said, “and most of this illness, MIS-C, is driven by the immune system, because the virus is either gone or only in minute quantities at the time they get very sick with MIS-C.”

Pavia said most children with MIS-C end up needing care in the intensive care unit. He said the syndrome is yet another reason for parents to protect children against COVID-19.

“This is really, although a rare complication, the one that we fear the most and that caused most of the heartbreak that we’ve seen,” he said.

Ruffin has created a GoFundMe* account to raise money for her family and said any assistance is appreciated.

*KSL-TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Nevada boy goes home after month in Utah hospital battling COVID-19 complication