Father shares heartbreaking picture of daughter, 5, fighting for life with Kawasaki disease

18 May 2020, 11:32

Scarlett Roberts' father Robert shared this photo of his daughter who is fighting for her life
Scarlett Roberts' father Robert shared this photo of his daughter who is fighting for her life. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A father has shared a heartbreaking photo of his "healthy" five-year-old daughter who is fighting for her life with Kawasaki disease just weeks after beating coronavirus.

Piers Roberts, from Wakefield, who works as a teacher at Outwood Academy Adwick in South Yorkshire, said it has been "torturous" seeing his daughter battle with the deadly disease.

Five-year-old Scarlett suffered from a mild case of Covid-19 after she "caught it at school," but recovered from it shortly after

However, she is now in intensive care with a Kawasaki inflammatory response which inflames blood vessels and is thought to be a reaction to coronavirus.

Mr Roberts said his "fit and healthy" daughter has a 20 per cent chance of survival after multi-organ failure which has left him and his family "broken."

"This is the reality," the teacher wrote on Twitter.

"I want to get back to face to face teaching. However, I don’t want my daughter as an experiment. The torture is real.

"20 per cent chance of surviving until discharge. Coronavirus caught at school before schools shut - six weeks of being fit and well - multi-organ failure and a broken family.

Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain, Scarlett's father said he did not want other parents going through the same experience when their children head back to school.

"We must stay informed about it so other people do not have to go through this torturous time," he said.

"Whether a full recovery or not is made, it is a torturous time and the thought of other families and parents having to go through it is a great shame.

"I have said whatever I have needed to say in order to make sure we can have dialogue to get kids back to school and in education in a safe manner."

Scarlett's great-aunt June also shared the devastating picture of the five-year-old hooked up to a ventilator in hospital.

She wrote: "This is my five-year-old great-niece. She was fit and healthy until a mild bout of Covid-19 five weeks ago from which she appeared to recover. She is now in ICU with a Kawasaki inflammatory response. She is off the ventilator but has developed heart problems.

"Her parents, a doctor (mum) and teacher (dad, my nephew), want her story sharing as they not only now have this dreadfully intimate personal experience but are both at the frontline of this crisis and see firsthand how schools will be the next frontline.

"My nephew and his wife want the UK to know they are appalled at proposals to bring back to school full year groups on 1 June. They expect, as do the teaching and medical unions, more cases like that of their daughter if the government persists in this plan.

"My nephew wants to get back to full-time face-to-face teaching as soon as possible. But using his daughter and those like her as guinea pigs is an unconscionable risk and one we cannot take while so little is known about the illness that felled her."

Mr Roberts' aunt June expressed the family's gratitude to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Leeds General Infirmary "for the amazing care the staff have given" to Scarlett.

She later posted another update on Twitter, saying: "She has had to go to theatre to have a second line put in. Her heart is doing scary things. Her mum says it's a routine procedure and should make the next few days easier for her."

It comes as an eight-month-old baby boy named Alexander Parsons, from Plymouth, died last month at Bristol Children's Hospital after being diagnosed with Kawasaki disease.

Alexander's mother Kathryn Rowlands, 29, told the Sunday Mirror: "I can't believe I carried him for longer than he was alive. I will never be whole again.

"And more parents will be in the same unimaginable position unless the government starts to listen to the advice of scientists and stops gambling with people's lives.

"The doctors and nurses who fought to save Alex were incredible - but if they'd known more about the Covid-Kawasaki link, they possibly could have done more."

Kawasaki disease mainly affects children under the age of five, with symptoms including a high temperature, rashes, swelling and a toxic shock style response.

Medical experts believe up to 100 children in the UK have been affected by a condition similar to Kawasaki disease, which has been linked to coronavirus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last month that experts are investigating the new syndrome in children "with great urgency" but has stressed it is rare.

Research led by Imperial College London is looking at the characteristics of those who have been admitted to hospital, while information regarding the illness is being shared across the international community.

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