FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Doctors have started to wean a 15-year-old girl hospitalized with COVID-19 off a ventilator and said her condition has been improving over the past two days.
Paulina Velasquez, 15, remains in the intensive care unit at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, but her doctors said her health has improved drastically.
“Paulina was admitted about 10 days ago with severe respiratory distress due to COVID-19,” Dr. Jennifer Davis said. “She was severely, critically ill when she arrived, and fortunately, she has significantly improved. Initially, she required much higher settings and was very ill, and now, she’s much more stable, and we’re weaning off the ventilator at this point.”
Agnieska Velasquez, her mother, has also tested positive for COVID-19. She has been vaccinated, her symptoms were minor and she remains by Paulina’s bedside.
“She’s intubated. She’s in an induced coma,” her mother said Monday.
Orlando Velasquez, her father, was overcome with emotion as he spoke about his daughter’s condition, which had been touch and go for the past few days.
“She’ll continue fighting and breathing to survive this,” he said through a translator.
Tomas Velasquez, her brother, said he and his sister had planned to get vaccinated before she got sick, and he will be going in the morning to receive his vaccine.
“I would love to encourage people to get vaccinated,” Tomas said. “This virus is a serious thing, no matter what the circumstances are. You may think you’re 100% healthy, but anybody can catch this virus.”
“With the first wave of COVID, we saw very few pediatric patients that were this ill,” Davis said. “They had maybe mild illness or had more gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, but unfortunately, with this wave, we’re seeing so many pediatric patients that are presenting with respiratory distress and really significant illness.”
Tomas said he and his parents will be praying until Paulina returns home from the hospital.
“It’s actually a big relief for me and my family knowing that she’s improving slowly but surely,” he said. “We’re grateful. We’re staying positive, and we’re going to continue staying positive until she’s discharged.”
Agnieska said while she was speaking with her daughter last night, she said she began to move.
If Paulina continues to improve, doctors said they will take the ventilator out by the end of the week.
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