Casa Grande little boy battles serious sinus cavity infection after COVID-19 diagnosis

A Casa Grande mother is detailing how COVID-19 led to serious and unexpected health issues for her little boy named Emmett.

Her 9-year-old son has been in the hospital for days and doctors tell the family that his COVID-19 diagnosis led to his health issues. Emmett has already undergone surgeries here at Phoenix Children's Hospital, and of course, his mother, Corina Lee, says the family has been overwhelmed by it all.

Lee took Emmett into the doctor's office for an allergy appointment and came out with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. She gave him Tylenol at home, but very quickly realized something else was very wrong.

"It was so bad. I couldn't even recognize him," Lee said. Emmett was rushed to the emergency room with a swollen face and what appeared to be black eyes.

ad244727-Emmett was diagnosed with COVID-19 and it quickly became an infection in his sinus cavity. Photos by Corina Lee

Emmett was diagnosed with COVID-19 and it quickly became an infection in his sinus cavity. Photos by Corina Lee

He was taken to Phoenix Children's Hospital where they gave him a CT Scan that determined he had an abscessed cyst throughout his whole sinus cavity. He underwent emergency surgery when they found that the infection had traveled all the way into the lining of his brain. 

He was diagnosed with streptococcus intermedius.

"I have never experienced anything like that. I hope no parent has to ever sit there and watch their child just scream," Lee said.

He's since undergone multiple surgeries and IV treatments. Lee says doctors told her that COVID-19 had weakened Emmett's immune system, making him more susceptible to the bacteria.  

Lee says she wants other parents to be aware of the signs and to make sure they don't take COVID-19 lightly.

"Just trust your gut. You know when the swelling really starts to take over. I knew with the headaches, I knew that wasn't normal for anybody to go through that," she said.

Dr. Andrew Carroll, a Phoenix-area family physician, said about Emmett's case, "Anytime we suffer from severe illness, such as flu, a cold but most especially and recently COVID, our immune systems get preoccupied trying to fight off."

He adds that most commonly we've seen pneumonia develop with COVID-19, which is also caused by bacteria. "Sometimes other more severe infections can happen," he added.

To donate to Emmett's GoFundMe, visit this link.

Arizona COVID-19 resources, FAQ:

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Monitor your health daily

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