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Abilene youngster clinging to life after COVID-19-related complication



ABILENE, TX – A young boy is clinging to life in a Fort Worth hospital, and the Abilene community is uniting to support the family as they wait.

Cason Abbott, 11, is in the intensive care unit at Cook Children’s Medical Center.

The Wylie West Junior High fifth-grader has been diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), stemming from a November bout with the novel coronavirus.

His condition worsened Tuesday, according to Darla Quinney, Cason’s aunt.

“It’s a very serious condition of COVID,” Quinney said. But it’s one very few people develop, she added.

MIS-C is ‘rare but serious’

According to the latest data provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MIS-C has been diagnosed 1,288 times as of Dec. 4.

MIS-C, the CDC said, presents multiple symptoms in children, including abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes or feeling extra tired.

It has caused 23 deaths, according to the same data.

Typically, the CDC said, it presents itself two to four weeks after a child is diagnosed with COVID-19. But there is plenty doctors don’t yet know about the new syndrome.

Since the CDC started receiving reports of MIS-C in May, 47 states and Washington, D.C. have diagnosed cases.

Texas is among the states with the most prevalence, as CDC information includes the state — along with California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey and both New York and New York City — in its top tier of 51+ reported cases.

A form of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults (MIS-A) has also been reported since June, the CDC said.

Cason’s timeline

Cason on Nov. 8 was diagnosed with COVID-19, Quinney said.

Like many children, he recovered and returned to normal activity. Until about 10 days ago.

That’s when Cason developed a combination of severe abdominal pain and lethargy.

“He was exhausted,” Quinney said. “He just wanted to sleep all of the time. We thought he’d gotten over COVID, so we were wondering what was wrong.”

A week ago, the family decided to take Cason to an Abilene emergency room, Quinney said. There, he underwent a CAT scan, was subjected to blood work and other tests, but was ultimately told to go home.

Four days later, with Cason showing no improvement, they returned to the emergency room, she said. Tests were given again, scans were taken and, ultimately, the family was sent home.

Something was wrong. But they weren’t getting answers.

So Quinney and her sister, Cason’s mother, Angie, decided to drive the ailing child to Cook Children’s.

“Within a couple hours, they had him admitted to the hospital,” Quinney said.

“(Tuesday), his condition deteriorated. They placed him in ICU, where he remains. If we’d waited, we wouldn’t have a child.”

Quinney said doctors have told them Cason could require 10-14 days to recover.

Doctors have administered blood pressure medication to help, as his pressure had dropped into dangerously low territory.

Once his blood pressure stabilizes, he can receive anti-inflammatory medication, Quinney said.

A helping hand

With his condition worsening, other members of Cason’s family created a Go Fund Me fundraiser to help the family through a difficult time.

Cason’s mother runs a house-cleaning business and is a single mother, Quinney said. So, she currently is not receiving income while taking care of her child.

The Go Fund Me, organized by Justice Kunkel (Cason’s aunt), has raised more than $11,000, as of Wednesday afternoon.