A 4-year-old New Mexico girl is paralyzed after being diagnosed with an ailment of the spinal column as a result of COVID-19, which left her hospitalized for eight months.
Stella Martin was rushed to San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, New Mexico, in April 2020 after running to her mom, Cassandra Yazzie, complaining of back pain, KOAT reported.
Yazzie told the station that her daughter suddenly “went limp” in her arms.
Stella was quickly airlifted to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque, where she was diagnosed with COVID-19 and then with Acute Transverse Myelitis, her mother said.
The disease is classified as an acute inflammation of gray and white matter in one or more adjacent spinal cord segments, according to the Merck Manual.
Doctors at UNMH said this was the first coronavirus-related case of Acute Transverse Myelitis in a child they had seen at the hospital.
Dr. Barry Ramo told KOAT that COVID-19 is known for causing a hyper-immune response in kids and that it could be responsible for the inflammation in Stella’s spinal cord.
Stella spent five months at UNM and then another three months at Carrie Tingley Hospital, KOAT reported.
On Monday, she received a round of applause from medical staff as she was finally able to return home.
“I am so grateful for the staff at UNM, the doctors, the chiefs, the nurses. They’ve done a lot for Stella. We thank them all,” Yazzie told KOAT.
“Every person there, she tells them she loves them, she checks up on the staff. When they’d come in, she’d ask, ‘Are you OK?’ She calls them all her friends,” she added.
Tragically, when the girl was hospitalized, her father died of COVID-19, according to the outlet.
“I miss my daddy,” Stella told KOAT.
Her mom said doctors have told her that it was unlikely Stella would recover, but noted that her mobility has already improved and that she can move her arms a little.
“I just want everybody to stay safe, to not take COVID lightly, because it is affecting my daughter in a big way,” Yazzie told KOAT.