Family of Phoenix, 6-year-old with epilepsy seeking convulsive dog after COVID scare | Coronavirus in Arizona

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A 6-year-old boy with epilepsy from Valley has finally gone home after 22 days in hospital. She contracted COVID-19 and had to be put on a ventilator. Now his family hopes a specially trained epileptic dog will help him recover and be safer in his journey with this difficult disorder.

Aria Shapiro must take daily medication for her epilepsy and is being closely monitored. After recently contracting COVID-19, her family wants to make sure they have more help with her recovery.

“It was the most traumatic situation we have ever been through,” said Aria’s mother, Sarah Shapiro.

Aria was just three years old when she suffered a 90 minute seizure. Since then, she has faced an uphill battle with epilepsy. This battle has become even more difficult during the pandemic.

“COVID has taken a turn that I’ve never seen his epilepsy enter,” Shapiro said.

On December 18, Aria contracted COVID and she was vaccinated the day before, on December 17. That night, she had a seizure and was rushed to hospital.

Here in Arizona, Phoenix Children’s says it is seeing an increase in cases.

She was placed in pediatric intensive care and spent two days on a ventilator. “She was intubated due to the seizures that wouldn’t stop due to COVID,” Shapiro said.

After 22 days in the hospital, Aria is finally home, but now her mother faces a new challenge.

“If she has a seizure where there is no movement, called a focal seizure if there is no sound and movement, how do you know to give her rescue medication or follow a back-up protocol? Shapiro said.

Aria wears a pulse oximeter that alerts her mother if she stops breathing. She also has motion detection cameras in her bedroom. But her family is looking for an extra layer of protection.

“For focal crisis, that’s when the idea of ​​a service animal came into play,” Shapiro said.

A convulsive dog can alert the family when a seizure is about to occur and be trained to put its head under a person’s head to open the airway. The only problem is that it is a quick process and comes at a high price.

“We got prizes ranging from $20 to $25,000,” Shapiro said. “We know it doesn’t cure anything, but it could potentially save his life.”

The family raised nearly $20,000 on their GoFundMe page. If you would like to donate, click here.


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