UAE - An 11-month-old infant survived a severe Covid-19 infection after doctors in the UAE administered a unique combination treatment. Julien bin Hamad and his parents were on vacation in the country when he developed a high-grade fever, a cough, vomiting and severe breathing difficulties.

His parents rushed him to the emergency department of RAK Hospital, where the medical team also detected low blood oxygen saturation levels. The Czech baby’s condition was so critical that he was shifted to the ICU, and oxygen therapy started immediately.

An RT-PCR test confirmed he was Covid-positive, while his chest X-ray showed extensive pneumonia in both lungs.

“We were extremely surprised as even during the peak Covid time, we had not encountered such kind of severe pneumonia in kids. Julien was the first paediatric Covid patient with extensive bilateral pneumonia managed at RAK Hospital. When, on [a] normal oxygen mask, his condition was not improving, we put him on High Flow Nasal Cannula (HFNC) therapy, which was successfully used to manage severe Covid-19 in adults,” said Dr Rashmi Anandani, specialist paediatrician.

After consulting an infectious disease specialist, the boy was put on intravenous steroids, remsedivir and antibiotics. Remisidevir is used in very few cases for children, the doctor said.

“Julien was also made to sleep on his belly and intensive chest physiotherapy was provided. After four days of continuous high-flow oxygen therapy and other treatments, he started showing improvement. Gradually, we decreased the oxygen support and, finally on the seventh day, weaned (him) off the oxygen therapy. The next day, he was shifted to the ward and after nine days of treatment, was discharged in a stable condition.”

Julien’s mother Kristina Novakova detailed their harrowing experience. “No one wants to see their baby go through this, but the treatment and support (we got) really calmed us down. Soon after Julian’s arrival at RAK Hospital, he was admitted to the intensive care unit.”

The UAE has one of the best systems and healthcare facilities to manage such critical conditions. “We are grateful to the doctors and the team at RAK Hospital as now we fly back to our country happily,” added Novakova.

Though the number of Covid cases has come down drastically, infections still persist. There are very few critical cases, with virtually no deaths caused by complications.

“Children generally have mild symptoms, but sporadic cases have been reported where the child underwent intensive care therapy. Be vigilant and especially aware of warning signs which will help seek medical attention on time.

In addition, talk to your child’s healthcare provider as it is difficult to differentiate flu from Covid-19. It is also important to keep up with regular doctor visits and vaccine schedule — especially if the child is under the age of two,” said Dr Rashmi.

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