Skylar Herbert died Sunday of a rare complication from COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. Herbert, only five years old, developed meningoencephalitis- a rare complication of the disease which caused brain swelling and a lesion on her frontal lobe.
Herbert was diagnosed with COVID-19 at Beaumont Hospital-Royal Oak after previously testing positive with her pediatrician for strep throat. However, her parents said that she continued to complain about a headache that wouldn’t go away.
While waiting in the parking lot of Beaumont Hospital while her father was tested for the virus, Herbert had a seizure. “(I told her) Skylar, look at your daddy, Skylar, look at your daddy,” her father, Ebbie Herbert said. “She came out of the seizure and me and her mother ran back into the emergency room.”
The Herbert family is unsure how Skylar contracted the disease as she had been home for weeks. Her father’s test results were inconclusive although he was showing symptoms like shortness of breath.
The family lives in Northwest Detroit, an area hard hit by the virus with over 550 cases. Skylar’s parents are both first responders. Her father, Ebbie, is a Detroit firefighter and her mother, LaVondria, has been a Detroit police officer for 25 years. Skylar was their only child.
Meningoencephalitis is a rare complication of the coronavirus. The International Journal of Infectious Diseases on April 3 reported one other case of encephalitis/meningitis in a COVID-19 positive patient out of Japan. It is another example of how the disease ravages different parts of the body. After two weeks on a ventilator, Skylar was pronounced brain dead.
Beaumont Hospital released a statement confirming Skylar’s death stating: “The loss of a child, at any time, under any circumstances, is a tragedy. We are heartbroken that COVID-19 has taken the life of a child. We extend our deepest sympathy to Skylar’s family and all others who have lost a loved one to this virus.”
There have been over 30,000 cases of the coronavirus in Michigan and more than 2,000 deaths.