Norwich mom says COVID helped save son’s life after discovery of rare genetic condition

New London

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– A Norwich woman says COVID helped save her son’s life. That’s because her son had a rare genetic disorder that they didn’t know about.

17-year-old Michael Wilson sits quietly next to his mom who wants to let people know at least one good thing has come out of this pandemic.

“Because Michael had COVID, not only did it save his life, but it saved my other kids lives,” said Nicole Wilson, of Norwich.

That’s because Michael has a rare genetic disorder that they didn’t discover until after he was diagnosed with COVID.

“He had gotten this pain that made him fall in the shower,” said Wilson.

She thought it may have been COVID-related so she brought him to the emergency department at Backus Hospital in Norwich, where she says one provider didn’t just write it off as heartburn which has happened in the past.

“Doctor came in and was like we found a dissection,” said Wilson. “He didn’t make it sound like it was huge.”

But it was. Turns out Michael has Marfan Syndrome which causes aortic aneurysms. He was immediately transported to Hartford Hospital for surgery.

“They usually do surgery at 5 cm. So this was 8cm so this was really big,” said Wilson.

The surgeon told Wilson if this hadn’t been caught Michael would have died within 24 to 48 hours.

“The nurse and the social worker had to come over and grab me a chair because I almost fell on the ground when he said that,” said Wilson.

We asked Michael how he was feeling today. 

“Wonderful,” he quietly answered.

Two of Michael’s three brothers and his sister have since been diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome too.

“COVID actually did something good,” said Wilson.

She would like to get a service dog for Michael just in case if she’s not there and his medical condition causes more complications the dog may be able to detect that and get help. Training for service dogs can be expensive.

“It’s been pretty tough the past couple of months to pay our bills,” said Wilson.

She and her husband Dustin who is the only one able to work right now are thankful though for this life saving discovery during the pandemic. 

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