A one-year-old boy has been left brain damaged after his heart stopped suddenly following an online Covid diagnosis.
Hugo Dato, who was born in the Spanish region of Murcia, was just four months old when he became ill, showing signs of fever, conjunctivitis and redness of the skin.
As Spain entered its first lockdown and the pandemic was announced by officials in March last year, the family doctor was unable to examine Hugo in person.
Jose Maria Dato Cano, 35, his father, said: “We called the family doctor and as they did not see him face to face due to the spike in coronavirus cases Hugo was diagnosed with coronavirus and had a prescription with medication for his fever and a solution for his eyes.”
Mr Dato Cano claims the doctor also recommended that they avoid going to the health centre and to the emergencies at the hospital as they were overburdened and “if it was Covid, it was worse to take him there.”
As Hugo’s symptoms did not improve, his parents said they took him to a private practice where he was said to be infected with a virus but it was not clear if it was Covid as tests for it were not readily available.
The private doctor prescribed Hugo antibiotics, which helped him recover and within 20 days, he was back to his normal happy self, for a time.
However, Hugo’s heart suddenly stopped working while he was in his mother’s arms on December 27.
The one-year-old was rushed to Santa Lucia hospital in the port city of Cartagena, where doctors were able to get a pulse, and he was transported to another hospital in Murcia.
There, doctors found large aneurysms in Hugo’s heart which had also led to his health problems at four months old.
They were caused by a rare illness called Kawasaki syndrome, which causes a fever and an inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body.
Maria Jesus Hernandez Guirao, 33, the tot’s mother claimed that the boy could have been cured with a simple treatment but the doctors did not detect it because they assumed it was Covid or a simple virus.
Hugo was cured of the rare illness at the hospital but the near-fatal incident has caused serious brain damage due to the lack of oxygen to his brain when his heart stopped.
His dad said: “He does not cry, he does not interact with us, he looks at us a bit, but he does not react to anything.”
He said that given that his son is returning from care, they have looked for a private clinic to give him multidisciplinary treatment, with physiotherapists, a speech therapist, and child psychology and stimulations programmes.
However, the private clinic which is closest to their home is located in Alicante, and costs at least £1,384 every month.
To raise funds the family have started selling bracelets which can be bought from their Instagram page ‘Hugo_cree_en_ti’ (Hugo believes in you) for £4 each.
The father said that so far, they have managed to raise about £7,767 through the website, and £34,523 from the sale of the bracelets, which will go towards Hugo’s treatment.