A COVID-denying dad has been "humbled" after his daughter has been left with a swollen heart after becoming seriously ill, as her eyes bulged and she was screaming in agony.
Andrew Maurer, of Herriman, Utah, told how he dismissed coronavirus as "just the flu" and disputed the effectiveness of face masks before his eye-opening experience with his eldest daughter.
Seven-year-old Grace Maurer was diagnosed with the Covid-associated condition, Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).
MIS-C has been compared to the established inflammatory condition, Kawasaki Syndrome, as it causes severe inflammation of organs and can be deadly.
“I used to be on the whole page of ‘masks don’t do anything, this is just the flu, kids don’t get sick from COVID,'” the father-of-three explained.
“And I gotta tell ya — I’ve been completely humbled.”
Grace fell ill in November when she began experiencing symptoms of a high fever and laboured breathing.
Andrew and his wife Caitlin brought their daughter to the local urgent care center, where medics diagnosed a potential kidney infection – yet her condition continued to worsen.
Her mother Caitlin explained, "She was so completely out of it.
"If you would barely touch her, she would scream in pain. And then her eyes starting bulging. That’s when I knew hey — we need to go."
After being rushed to a nearby emergency room, the youngster was quickly admitted to its adjoining intensive care unit.
Despite testing negative for coronavirus, doctors said Grace had almost definitely suffered from an earlier, asymptomatic infection, that had resulted in her suffering from MIS-C.
Grace was then dealt another traumatic blow after she caught meningitis while in hospital, which further extended her stay, ABC4 reported.
The young girl now appears to be over the worst of her illnesses, and has returned to school.
But medics remain extremely concerned about the damage to Grace's heart, and have warned her parents to not let her take part in any strenuous physical activity.
Her father Andrew said: "The scary part is, we still don’t know how it’s going to affect her.
"I don’t know what we would’ve done if she didn’t make it."
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with Grace's medical bills, and to cope with the "ongoing medical visits in the coming weeks and months to further monitor Grace and ensure her long term health."
The fundraiser titled, "Give Holiday Cheer to the Maurer family", has so far raised $4,943.
There are currently over 20.7 million cases of coronavirus in the United States as the death toll surpassed over 352,000.
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