Norwich Mom Credits COVID-19 With Helping to Save Son's Life

Doctors discovered that Michael Wilson, 17, had an aortic dissection when he went to the emergency department for chest pains he was experiencing after a COVID-19 diagnosis.

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Nicole Wilson said that her son could have died if he did not go to the emergency department days after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

The Wilson family in Norwich has found a silver lining in the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There is always a good that comes out of a bad," said Nicole Wilson. "And that is what happened."

Wilson said that she is thankful for COVID-19. The reality of the deadly virus is not lost on her, but she believes the virus also helped save her son's life.

"I am just grateful," said Wilson.

Michael Wilson, 17, tested positive for the virus in early October. Days after his positive test, his mom said that he started experiencing chest pain.

"It felt so bad that he thought he was going to fall over," said Wilson.

She said that she took her son to Backus Hospital. According to Wilson, Michael has experienced chest pain before, but it has been dismissed as heartburn.

Wilson said that because Michael was COVID positive, the doctors ran extra tests to check for blood clots. But the tests revealed something the Wilsons were not expecting: an aortic dissection.

Michael was transported to Hartford for emergency surgery, according to Wilson.

"Overwhelmed, stressed," said Michael, describing how he felt about the situation.

Wilson told NBC Connecticut that doctors said the surgery was urgent.

"The dissection was so big and the aneurysm was so big, he was about 24 to 48 hours away from being gone," said Wilson.

Shortly after the surgery, Wilson said she was told that her son's dissection was caused by Marfan Syndrome, which they did not know Michael had.

According to the Marfan Foundation, Marfan Syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the body's connective tissue. That tissue is important to help the body grow. The foundation reports that about 1 in 5,000 people have the syndrome.

The Wilsons believe Michael's case would have remained undetected and, perhaps, had deadly consequences, if he didn't also show up at the hospital with COVID-19. They said that the virus led the doctors to run the extra tests.

"We would have never known," said Wilson.

Michael still has another surgery ahead. He said he has been staying at home, determined to not get the virus again.

Since his diagnosis, Michael's siblings have also been seen by a doctor. According to Wilson, all four siblings have now either been diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, or are showing markers for it.

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