Doctors Fixated on COVID, Failed to Accurately Diagnose Teen for Three Weeks

Doctors fixated on COVID-19 fail to diagnose Teen. Blood draw eventually shows accurate results.
Patient receiving a blood draw during medical tests. | Image by yacobchuk

According to her mother, fifteen-year-old Rockwall resident Katelyn Chambers became ill just a few days into her first week of high school. She was sent home mid-afternoon on August 27th for not feeling well, complaining about a stomachache.

Her mother, Andrea Chambers, booked the earliest available COVID test in their area and kept her daughter home from school. As the date of the COVID test approached, Katelyn’s symptoms expanded to include fever and fatigue.

Katelyn got her COVID test the following Thursday, September 2nd. Though the test’s results were negative, Mrs. Chambers was told to quarantine her daughter, as well as her other three children, she says, “just in case.”

When Katelyn’s illness did not improve over the next few days, Mrs. Chambers took her to another doctor’s appointment, where she received a second COVID test on September 6th. The results for this second test were also negative.

“After two negatives, it seemed pretty clear that she didn’t have COVID, but every time I took her to the doctor, they didn’t want to test her for anything else,” Mrs. Chambers told Dallas Express.

As Katelyn’s fatigue worsened, her fever remained, and she was unable to return to school. Growing concerned, Mrs. Chambers booked her daughter for yet another doctor’s appointment, where she was given a third COVID test on September 13th.

Once again, Katelyn’s results were negative, yet her mother remarks, “None of the doctors seemed to be willing to consider that she had anything besides COVID. They didn’t want to run any other tests.”

According to Mrs. Chambers, the physicians made no effort to diagnose Katelyn with any illness other than COVID-19 during any of their three doctor visits. Katelyn was falling behind in her schoolwork, and there seemed to be no end in sight to her illness, two stressors that began to weigh on both Katelyn and her mother.

Mrs. Chambers reached what she told Dallas Express was her “breaking point” when she brought Katelyn in for a fourth doctor’s appointment on September 20th, and doctors informed her they would be conducting a fourth COVID test. By that point, Katelyn had been sick for more than three weeks and had tested negative for COVID three times, yet it seemed they were no closer to an official or accurate diagnosis.

At this fourth appointment, Mrs. Chambers demanded the doctors perform more than just a COVID test. One of the tests she requested was a blood panel, which would indicate any bacterial or viral infections present in the high-school freshman.

Only after the blood sample was tested that Mrs. Chambers learned the truth about what ailed her daughter, Katelyn had mononucleosis.

Mononucleosis, or “mono,” as it is often called, is a viral infection that can leave those who catch it feeling sick for a month. According to a Cleveland Clinic study, it is a common illness that affects around 90% of Americans before age thirty-five.

“That’s part of what frustrated me the most,” said Mrs. Chambers. “It should have been easy to figure out what was wrong with her. The answer should have been obvious, but the doctors just weren’t looking for it.”

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