Florida nurse, 22, paralyzed from coronavirus complications, family says

Coronavirus

Desmon Silva, 22. Photo courtesy Silva family/GoFundMe

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (News Nation/WFLA)- A Florida nurse who has been working on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis, now needs the community’s help. 

Desmon Silva, a Massachusetts native and registered nurse at Largo Medical Center, is fighting for his life on a ventilator at Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor, Florida.

Silva contracted the novel coronavirus and the flu in early May and seemingly made a full recovery, according to his family.

“He self-quarantined, was treated. After that, got tested, was negative. He went back to work,” said Silva’s mother, Barbra Bonnet — who is also a nurse.

But Bonnet tells News Nation affiliate WFLA her son’s health took an unexpected turn last Thursday after he lost sensation in his hands and eventually his legs.

By the time the 22-year-old reached a hospital, he was paralyzed from the neck down.

“They’re basically saying that it’s based on a viral infection, which was COVID as well as the flu,” said Bonnet. “It laid dormant in his system and then, whenever this triggered, my son’s immune system wasn’t strong enough in order to fight this infection. What it did was it attacked his spinal cord as well as the central nervous system, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.”

Bonnet says Silva needs to be transported by medical evacuation to Boston to receive further treatment.

“It’s important for him to get back to Boston, because of the severity and the acuity of what’s going on with him. The doctors were very upfront with us and said, ‘you know, he needs extensive amount of care right now, he needs to be in a Neuro-ICU unit,” said Bonnet. “An admitted physician in Boston is willing to take his case and hopefully work on his symptoms and get him to start feeling sensation and movement and hopefully walk and make a full recovery.”

A GoFundMe page has been created to help with Silva’s medical expenses. As of Friday evening, more than $41,000 had been raised with a goal of $100,000.

“The quoted amount that we’re getting is about $40,000 to fly him home. That would be for a private airplane that pretty much mimics and ICU unit,” said Bonnet. This is definitely a nightmare for any parent to go through. We want to raise awareness with this, we’re doing this for Des, but we’re also doing this to raise awareness in regards to the COVID and how important it is to stay safe and to listen to what’s going on in the news. This doesn’t have any age discrimination, clearly. You could be the age of two or 92 and still deal with the complications.”

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