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'I didn't know if he was going to make it:' North Carolina mother details son's battle with MIS-C

Posted February 22, 2021 11:25 p.m. EST
Updated February 23, 2021 12:02 a.m. EST

— Graiden Marshmon's mother, Da'Raille Marshmon, says that, before he was diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, a serious illness linked to COVID-19, he used to be energetic and run around his home.

Now, she says the 2-year-old has to be carried everywhere and is clearly not himself.

Marshmon added that she asked herself over and over again, “Is my baby going to make it?" after Graiden was misdiagnosed at least three times.

She said he had stomach pain, a fever of 103 degrees, wouldn't eat or drink and had a rash forming all over his body.

"I went to pick him up, and he was like, 'Ouch, you're hurting me.' I was like, 'Where am I hurting you?' He couldn't say [where]. He just said you're hurting me, and at that point, I told my husband it was time to go back to the ER," said Marshmon.

After the third trip to the ER, Graiden was admitted to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for nearly a week.

"Watching him being poked, having to hold him down because that was the only way he was going to get help, watching tubes being put in him ... it's a nightmare, and it's real," described Marshmon.

From being told Graiden had an ear infection to Kawaski disease, it wasn't until doctors asked if the family had been exposed to COVID-19 that Graiden got the treatment he needed.

Marshmon said that, aside from Graiden, the entire family tested positive for the virus last month.

"The antibody test came back positive, which meant he had COVID, or they said he was around somebody who had COVID," she added.

That's when Graiden was diagnosed with MIS-C, which includes irritability, abdominal pain, vomiting, a rash, swollen hands and feet and fevers lasting for days as symptoms.

"I didn't know if he was going to make it," said Marshmon. "My worst fear was driving home to my other kids without their brother. That's how scared I was, and that's how scary it was for him."

In North Carolina, there have been 88 cases of MIS-C since the pandemic began.

"Since we think the syndrome is a delayed reaction from the COVID-19 exposure, it makes sense that we tend to see a clustering of cases after there's been a peak within communities," said Dr. Eve Wu, a University of North Carolina pediatric immunologist.

Although it's generally rare, Wu said MIS-C is concerning because children through adolescents can appear fine and then quickly become very ill.

"The other complication we worry about is the effects on the heart -- both short-term and long-term," she added.

It's a fear that's very real for the Marshmon family.

"Watching my baby lay up there and fight for his life, it's very serious. Don't take it for a joke. Listen to your children," said Marshmon.

UNC Children's Hospital Specialty Clinic said they've treated two dozen cases of MIS-C and that parents should keep a close eye on their children after COVID-19 exposure for two to six weeks, which is when symptoms of MIS-C typically show up.

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