A 16-year-old Indiana boy died after suffering complications related to the novel coronavirus, his family said.
Andre Guest, who had just celebrated his 16th birthday on April 1, died on April 27 following a 12-day battle with what his family says may have been multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a rare but serious inflammatory condition in children that experts think is likely linked to COVID-19.
“I can’t tell you how a perfectly healthy 16-year-old boy can be making his own peanut butter sandwich late Wednesday night, getting his own tea out the fridge, and head up to bed like any other teenager in the state or in the country is doing. And then within 24 hours is fighting for his life,” Dawn Guest, Andre’s mother, told Kaiser Health News.
After collapsing on his bathroom floor the following morning, Andre was taken to a local emergency room before being transferred to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
Despite having trouble breathing, high fever and a cough, Andre first tested negative for COVID-19. But a second test came back positive, and Andre’s two sisters and father also tested positive, though they experienced only mild fevers and fatigue. At the hospital, doctors also discovered the teen was suffering from Type 1 diabetes, a condition that “frequently comes to light for the first time in the setting of an infection,” per Kaiser Health News.
Dawn, a nurse at a local nursing home facility, told Kaiser Health News that her family took all the recommended precautions amid the pandemic, such as socially distancing from others, wearing face masks outside of the home, and frequently cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
Dawn also said she didn’t wear shoes into the home when coming back from work, disinfecting them outside before immediately going upstairs to shower. What’s more, Andre reportedly had not left the house in the weeks prior to his death.
At Riley Hospital for Children, Andre’s condition continued to worsen, and he eventually began having issues with his brain, heart, lungs and kidneys. Though he was never formally diagnosed with MIS-C, the condition is known to cause inflammation in the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes and gastrointestinal organs. MIS-C can also cause persistent fever, rashes, vomiting and diarrhea, among other symptoms such as a red tongue and eyes.
“Everything that they would fight to try to correct, the coronavirus would find something else to attack,” Johnny Guest, Andre’s father, told Kaiser Health News, noting that doctors had considered treating the teen with remdesivir, but the 16-year-old’s kidney and liver function were too poor for the experimental drug to be used.
On April 27, Andre, who required a ventilator, went into cardiac arrest and passed away after chest compressions failed to revive him. He subsequently became Indiana’s first COVID-19-related death under the age of 18, per the outlet.
Andre, a sophomore student at Lawrence North High School, loved photography, playing basketball and video games, according to his obituary.
“Although only 16 years old at the time of his passing, Andre touched and affected many people in his short lifetime. Andre brought so much love and joy to our lives and to those who were ever around him. Those who knew Andre knows we have lost a bright and beautiful shining light from our lives,” it reads, in part.