Family of girl, 7, formerly hospitalized with COVID encourages vaccination: 'Scariest moment ever'

Heather has returned home after hospitalization
CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago girl has been recovering after a difficult week at University of Illinois Hospital.

"To see her in a condition like this and to imagine a day without her was the scariest moment ever," said her mother, Shannon Oliver.

Oliver said her 7-year-old daughter, Heather, nearly died from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, a rare complication from COVID-19 in children.

At the start of January, the CDC said there were fewer than 300 cases in Illinois. For Heather, it started with a fever that wouldn't break. Doctor Meghan Harding was one of Heather's doctors at UI Health in Intensive Care.

"If they have high fevers for multiple days, if they have had any contact a family member or friend who had COVID, don't hesitate to get their child into their pediatrician," Harding said.

Heather was able to go the playroom in the hospital on Monday. Her mom said Heather never tested positive for COVID-19, but a few weeks ago, her cousin had tested positive.

And in the hospital, Heather was found to have the antibodies, meaning that at some point, she had COVID-19. Now, her family has been urging everyone to take all precautions.

"I don't want anybody else to go through something like this, another child, another parent, anybody to go through something like that," Shannon said.

"The virus does set off the excessive immune response in a very small number of children and if they are vaccinated and never get the virus, then they are not at risk for this disease," Harding said.

Heather's older sister, Hailey Haugabook, also has a message for the public.

"This stuff is really serious out here and you could really get hurt and you could get really sick and end up some where you don't want to end up," she said.

Heather's mom said she tried to get all of family vaccinated, but appointments together were impossible for a family of seven and a walk-in clinic ran out.

After this ordeal, UI Health arranged for the whole family to get vaccinated or boosted before Heather comes home. For that, and the staff who saved her baby girl's life, Heather's Mom is grateful.

Heather was able to return home from hospital later Monday, her mom said on Facebook.
Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.