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July 13, 2020

The coronavirus 'shut down' this healthy 24-year-old's organs

Daily Briefing

    When Davon Hill, a generally healthy 24-year-old, developed Covid-19, his doctors thought he would recover—but, within 24 hours, the disease shut down his organs, and Hill succumbed to the new coronavirus, Jim Little reports for the Pensacola News Journal.

    The 'disturbing' surge in Covid-19 cases among young Americans

    'Everything just stopped'

    On June 22, Hill started experiencing a sore throat. By the next day, he also had developed a fever. According to Donna Hendrix, Hill's adoptive mother, Hill's condition "went downhill from there."

    "It was really quick," she said. "The sore throat, the body aches, the coughing."

    Hill got tested for the novel coronavirus at the University of West Florida (UWF). While waiting for his test result, Hendrix went to the ED at Santa Rosa Medical Center, where he was told he had both pneumonia and strep throat, Little reports.

    Two days later, Hill returned to the ED and was admitted to the hospital. He received a coronavirus test at the hospital, which came back negative. However, according to Hendrix, a pulmonologist who treated Hill told him that he likely was infected with the coronavirus and had developed Covid-19, despite his negative test result.

    Hill was then moved to an ICU. While there, he received his result from the coronavirus test he was given at UWF—and it was positive.

    Doctors treated Hill with convalescent plasma, which is derived from people who've recovered from Covid-19 and is being tested as a potential treatment for the disease. However, according to Hendrix, Hill received the experimental treatment only after she mentioned it to his providers. Hendrix said she as if Hill's treatment was "being made up as [clinicians] went along."

    Hill's providers eventually placed him on a ventilator. On July 1, doctors told Hill's family that his vital signs looked good, and that they believed they'd be able to take Hill off the ventilator soon, Little reports.

    But by 1 a.m. on July 2, Hill's condition took a turn for the worse. Doctors called Hill's family to inform them Hill's condition had deteriorated ask them to come to the hospital. By the time his family arrived, Hill had died.

    "Everything just stopped," Hendrix said. "His organs just shut down within minutes. It was just horrible."

    A warning for others

    Wesley Farr, a professor of environment health and infectious diseases at UWF's Department of Public Health, said reported Covid-19 deaths among young adults have been rare, and many young patients who've died from Covid-19 had other underlying health conditions, such as obesity or chronic lung disease.

    But "[e]ven [for] healthy young people and adults who get [a coronavirus] infection, there still is a small risk that they'll get severe disease and a very small risk of fatality," Farr said.

    Timothy Hendrix, Hill's adoptive father, said Hill was "heavy" but worked out daily and was otherwise healthy. Timothy said he posted a message on Facebook regarding Hill's death to warn others of the novel coronavirus' dangers—dangers he didn't take seriously, himself.

    "It was just so hard to believe when no one you know or they know has been affected by it," he said. "I posted what I did because you couldn't find a bigger nonbeliever than me."

    Donna Hendrix said she's worried others could lose loved ones because of the coronavirus' spread.

    "Why did it happen to [him]? And is it going to just spread like wildfire?" she said. "It's almost like I have my life before he passed away, and now after he's passed away. And the after passed away is like you're in solitary confinement, because you're not going to go anywhere. And you're not going to let your families go anywhere. It's just horrible" (Little, Pensacola News Journal, 7/9).

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