- Category: Notable Heroes in Health Care
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From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a main understanding was that it usually doesn’t affect children as seriously as adults. While that remains true, in early May reports of a “mysterious illness” in some kids who have been exposed to COVID-19 started to emerge.
Known as “Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children” (MIS-C), kids can present with many different symptoms, including a persistent high fever, swelling of the hands and feet, rash and red eyes and tongue. Some have also been found to have inflammation of many organs —including the heart.
As the region’s only pediatric health system, Children’s Wisconsin put its expertise to work and created a multidisciplinary MIS-C team comprised of 35 physicians from critical care, infectious disease, hospital medicine, immunology, emergency medicine and cardiology.
This group, led by Frank Zhu, MD, medical director of Infectious Diseases, and Amy Goza, Amy Goza, BSN, RN, CPN, CIC, lead infection preventionist, reviewed all available literature and consulted with health systems throughout the country to develop a care plan for MIS-C. They’ve been working with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and have been approached by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to join a small group of hospitals who are developing best practices in identification and treatment of MIS-C.
While the prevalence of MIS-C in kids with exposure to COVID-19 indicates some link, the exact correlation is still being investigated. In most of these cases, these patients tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies (as opposed to testing positive for the actual virus). That means the child doesn’t currently have COVID-19, but did and their body’s immune system fought it off.
To date, Children’s Wisconsin has reported 33 suspected cases MIS-C to the Wisconsin DHS — 12 cases were confirmed and 11 remain under review — and all have been successfully cared for at Children’s Wisconsin.
The full MIS-C team includes: Paula Allen, BSN, RN, MS-OL, CPPS; Mary Bartel, MD; Matthew Beier, CNS; Joseph Block, MD; Matt Buelow, MD; Rosellen Choi, MD; Pamela Gage, CNS; Deborah Gogin, CNS; Amy Goza, BSN, RN, CPN, CIC; Matthew Gray, MD; Stephanie Handler, MD; Sheila Hanson, MD; Katelyn Katzke; Susan Kehl, MD; Julie Kolinski, MD; Petra Laeven-Sessions, MD; Lynn Malec, MD; Ryan Merhaut, BSN, RN; Kathy Miller, MBA, BSN, RN; Michelle Mitchell, MD; Robert Niebler, MD; James Nocton, MD; Holly O’Brien, MSN, RN, CPPS; Brittany Player, DO; Rowena Punzalan, MD; Robert Rohloff, MD; Amy Romashko, MD; Matthew Scanlon, MD; Megan Schultz, MD; Cheryl Singer, BSN, RN; Kellie Snooks, MD; Paula Soung, MD; Christopher Spahr, MD; Danny Thomas, MD; Lauren Titus, MD; James Verbsky, MD; Michael Weisgerber, MD; Frank Zhu, MD.