Aaron Mackie, 12, from Ashbrooke, suffered a ‘terrifying’ ordeal after spending 10 days in hospital following the diagnosis of a rare condition called Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome (PIMS–TS).
The new condition happens weeks after someone contracts coronavirus which can cause swelling throughout the body.
Aaron tested positive for Covid-19 in November last year and only suffered with symptoms of no smell and taste, but mum Stacey said that five weeks after the positive test, Aaron became unwell and she knew it wasn’t the ‘typical stomach bug’.
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She said: “He was feeling sick and had a sore throat and he didn’t look well at all, I’d never seen him like it before so I made a GP appointment and when we saw the doctor his temperature went through the roof.”
"We were told to take him to A&E where he deteriorated quickly and a rash began to appear on his little finger, I started to worry it was sepsis.”
Aaron, a keen rugby player who attends St Aidan's Catholic Academy, was placed on a ward at Sunderland Royal Hospital on December 20 when he was diagnosed with PIMS-TS.
Aaron was treated with antibiotics but the rash had spread across his body, his blood pressure had also dropped rapidly and fluid was found on his lungs.
His mum said: “It was dreadful to see, one minute we thought he was getting better and then the next he was getting progressively worse.
"His eyes and lips started to become red and his hands were all cracked.”
The little fighter was transferred to the intensive care unit at Newcastle’s RVI for further treatment over Christmas and was eventually discharged on December 30.
Stacey said: “It was heartbreaking seeing him at his worst, because there’s nothing you can do but he was so strong and mature – He’s such a lovely kid and he never complained once.
"We couldn’t fault any of the staff at the hospitals, Aaron was so well looked after and it’s such a cruel illness, we want to try and help others spot the symptoms before it gets serious.”
The family also helped spot the same condition in a friend of Aaron’s when he started to suffer from the same symptoms.
Stacey added: "It can get serious very quickly so it needs to be caught as soon as possible, it’s a new condition so we want to share Aaron’s story so others don’t suffer too.”
Dr Darren Bresnen, a Consultant Paediatrician with South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has praised Aaron and his family for helping raise awareness of the ‘increasingly frequent condition’.
He said: “We have seen an increase in the number of children coming into hospital with Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome temporally associated with COVID-19 or PIMS-TS as it is becoming known. It is a condition that can occur several weeks after COVID-19 infection when the body’s inflammatory response goes into overdrive.”
Dr Bresnen says the Trust is seeing children with a persistent high temperature, sleepiness or general lack of energy, sickness and diarrhoea, shortness of breath and a rash which are symptoms similar to that of many other viral infections – making PIMS-TS hard to spot.
The Doctor added that PIMS-TS is treatable and ‘most children will make a quick recovery once treatment starts’.
He said: “While PIMS-TS was initially thought to be rare, we are now seeing more cases coming into the hospital. We are learning about the condition all of the time and sharing our experiences locally and nationally.”