London – She recovered from mild symptoms of coronavirus and was “fit and well” for six weeks.
But then Scarlett Nicholas, five, suffered devastating multi-organ failure and was left fighting for life in hospital.
She was diagnosed with Kawasaki Syndrome – thought to be linked to Covid-19 – and put on a ventilator in intensive care. Her family posted a photo of her fighting for survival and shared details of their ordeal to raise public awareness of the rare condition.
To their huge relief, doctors now say Scarlett’s condition is rapidly improving.
Her mother Naomi Roberts, a doctor, said Scarlett is now off the ventilator, but has heart-related complications.
Kawasaki Syndrome mainly affects children under the age of five. Symptoms include a high temperature, a rash and swollen glands in the neck.
It has been claimed to be triggered by the immune system’s overreaction to coronavirus, but no definite no links have been established so far. Dr Roberts wrote a social media post thanking medical staff treating Scarlett, adding: “Her team here are amazing.”
Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Monday, stepfather Piers Roberts, a teacher from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, said: “Since yesterday afternoon she’s made vast improvements.
“Thanks to Leeds Children’s Hospital and the NHS generally, I cannot thank them enough. She’s made improvements in an illness which we still don’t fully understand and I can only hope is rare.”
He said Scarlett was “sent home from school with a mild temperature” in March and the family self-isolated for two weeks. Roberts and his wife also tested positive for coronavirus and they thought they were “out the woods as a family” when they recovered.
However, Scarlett was taken ill again and ended up on a ventilator. Roberts was initially told by doctors in Wakefield that there was a link to coronavirus. He added that Scarlett’s symptoms were a temperature, nausea and a stomach ache which “parents will see quite often with a five-year-old”.
Meanwhile, a toddler covered in a rash was sent home from hospital three times despite her mother’s claims she may have Kawasaki Syndrome. Three-year-old Erin Smiles was left looking “like someone had poured scalding water on her” after she suffered the rash and fever in January. Erin’s mother Victoria Smiles, of Washington, Tyne and Wear, said doctors believed the rash was an allergic reaction.
Smiles, 30, said: “I’m not a doctor, but looking at the photos of other children who had it, she had it 100 percent. She had all the symptoms.” She took Erin to Sunderland Royal Hospital, but was sent home with Calpol and antihistamines.
Smiles added: “The rash looked as if someone had poured scalding water on her. There was a bit of white skin, but the rest of her was just red.” Erin has since recovered.
By CHRIS BROOKE