Schoolgirl, 15, died after suffering rare inflammation of heart linked to Covid, inquest hears

Schoolgirl, 15, died after suffering rare inflammation of heart linked to Covid, inquest hears

Schoolgirl, 15, died after suffering rare inflammation of heart linked to Covid, inquest hears. Credit: ITV News.

A BRITISH schoolgirl died after suffering rare inflammation of the heart linked to Covid, an inquest has heard.

Jorja Halliday, aged 15, died at the Queen Alexandra Hospital on September 28, 2021 – the day she was due to get her vaccination against the virus.

The inquest into what caused her death concluded that the teen, from Portsmouth, Hampshire died after suffering rare inflammation of the heart that was linked to Covid-19.

Her mother, Tracey Halliday, told the Portsmouth inquest that Jorja started to feel unwell in the early hours of September 24 and tested positive for Covid-19 that day, reports Hampshire Live.

The teen, a GCSE student at The Portsmouth Academy, was prescribed antibiotics by her GP, who also gave her advice on treating Covid-19 symptoms, during a telephone appointment on September 27, but Jorja’s condition worsened as she kept vomiting.

A further appointment on the same day at the surgery recorded her heart rate at 147 beats per minute, leading her GP to send her to hospital.

Jorja’s condition deteriorated quickly and she was placed in a medically-induced coma in order for her to be transferred to Southampton for specialist care, but her condition worsened and she died about five hours after arriving at hospital.

Dr Nicholas Tarmey, a consultant in intensive care medicine at the Queen Alexandra Hospital who treated Jorja, said she was showing symptoms of a cardiovascular problem, rather than a pulmonary problem.

He told the court: “Apart from the color, she looked frightened, not just of the situation, she also had a sense something was seriously wrong with her body. I think it comes from the amount of adrenaline being released by the body to boost blood pressure that gave her the anxious, frightening feeling.

Dr Tarmey recollected how Jorja’s body was struggling to cope and the teenager looked “confused and agitated”, before adding that hospital staff began CPR when her blood pressure was so low that they could not feel her pulse.

“We continued to not be able to reverse the situation, which had been the case since she had arrived in hospital,” he said.

“Nothing had made any difference to the decline of the functioning of her heart, sadly. There was nothing anyone could do.”

Dr Tarmey told the court that myocarditis was extremely rare as a result of Covid-19 in children.

“We presume it was Covid that was the virus causing the inflammation of the heart muscle,” he continued.

“I haven’t treated any other children with Covid as the cause of myocarditis, that is in keeping with how rare it is. I am sure as a percentage of all the children who catch Covid it is extremely rare.”

Ms Halliday asked the doctor directly whether Jorja would have suffered a less severe reaction had she had the covid-19 vaccination.

Dr Tarmey said all he could say for certain is that the jab reduces the risk of severe medical complexities, adding that it “might reduce the risk of complications”, but said he was “extrapolating that from the benefits we know.”

Consultant paediatric pathologist Samantha Holden recorded a cause of death of acute myocarditis associated with Covid-19 infection.

“She was the only child I have seen that has Covid myocarditis,” she told the court.

Giving a verdict of natural causes, coroner Sarah Whitby said Jorja’s condition had deteriorated “astonishingly” quickly.

She said: “Despite the swift action taken by her mother and the concentrated medical involvement, she deteriorated rapidly and she died later that day due to Covid complications.”

After the inquest, Ms Halliday encouraged people to consider getting a Covid-19 vaccination.

“Covid can do this to fit and healthy young people, however rare it is, it can happen. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion and make their own choice, it’s a personal choice.”

She added: “It’s heart-wrenching because your kids are always meant to outlive you, and that’s the one thing I can’t get over.”

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Vickie S
Written by

Vickie Scullard

A journalist of more than 12 years from Manchester, UK, Vickie now lives in Madrid and works as a news writer for the Euro Weekly News.