A 17-year-old Fort Myers girl who died two weeks ago after contracting the novel coronavirus was being treated with hydroxychloroquine and other unproven remedies for nearly two weeks before her death in a south Florida hospital, according to news reports.
Carsyn Leigh Davis died from respiratory failure June 23, one of the youngest Floridians to fall victim to the disease. Davis was a cancer survivor who lived with a rare autoimmune disorder and complex medical history.
A report from the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner’s Department reveals that, leading up to her death, Davis attended a church function with at least 100 other teens where social distancing was not observed and face masks were not required, according to reports in the Fort Myers News Press and the Washington Post.
Three days later, on June 13, the immunocompromised teen began feeling sick, telling her parents she had sinus pressure, a mild cough and a headache. But nine days passed before Davis was taken to a hospital, according to the reports.
Instead, she was treated at home by her mother, a nurse, and her father, a physician’s assistant, taking doses of azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug touted by President Trump, according to the News Press. It was not clear whether the girl had a prescription for either drug.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings about hydroxychloroquine, saying usage could cause potentially deadly heart rhythm problems.
The case has drawn backlash from critics in the medical field after it was reported over the weekend by Florida data scientist Rebekah Jones on her Florida COVID Victims site, the Post reported. Jones describes the church function as a “COVID Party” and alleges that the teen’s mother, nurse Carole Brunton Davis, brought her to the event to “intentionally expose her immuno-compromised daughter to this virus.”
Davis had struggled with a number of health issues over the years, including a rare nervous-system disorder that resolved when she was 5, obesity and an auto-immune disorder, according to the News Press.
When Carsyn Davis fell ill on June 13, three days after attending the church function, her parents assumed she was suffering from a sinus infection and her symptoms went untreated for six days, according to the news reports, quoting the medical examiner.
Her parents later took her to Gulf Coast Medical Center in south Fort Myers and she was transfered to the Golisano Children’s Hospital, where she tested positive for COVID-19. The girl’s family refused to allow her to be intubated, opting for plasma treatment, according to the reports. When that didn’t work, hospital staff intubated the girl on June 22.
She was later transferred to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, where she was pronounced dead on June 23.
A GoFundMe account set up in Davis’ name had received $8,147 in donations as of Tuesday.
In a post on the fundraiser’s website, her mother, Carole Brunton Davis, said: “We are incredibly saddened by her passing at this young age, but are comforted that she is pain-free. Heaven gained an angel. Carsyn did not have an easy life.”
• • •
Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage
HOW CORONAVIRUS IS SPREADING IN FLORIDA: Find the latest numbers for your county, city or zip code.
MASK UPDATE: Find out where you have to wear a mask in Tampa Bay
FILING TAXES?: What to know about the July 15 tax deadline
GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information.
HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips
We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.