Sudden death of 6-year-old a month after coronavirus recovery puzzles doctors

Hospital still treating Yosef Naim’s 4 sisters, all suffering from shortness of breath and vomiting; doctors trying to determine COVID-19’s role in child’s death

6-year-old Yosef who died due to complications from the coronavirus on December 13, 2021. (Courtesy)
6-year-old Yosef who died due to complications from the coronavirus on December 13, 2021. (Courtesy)

A six-year-old boy from the southern town of Netivot died Monday morning in his sleep, whiles his four sisters were rushed to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon while suffering from shortness of breath and vomiting.

The circumstances of Yosef Naim’s death and his sisters’ hospitalizations were being probed. Reports indicated all the family’s kids hadn’t been vaccinated and had recently recovered from COVID-19.

Medics said they’d arrived at the family home to find the boy unconscious and without vital signs. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition amid resuscitation attempts, and doctors eventually pronounced him dead.

“You don’t know the sorrow,” the boy’s father, Yehuda Naim, told Channel 13 news. “He didn’t feel well, we gave him medicine to lower the fever, he didn’t get up in the morning.”

Yehuda described his son to Hebrew-language media as generally healthy, despite the recent bout with COVID. However, he also indicated that Yosef had a history of seizures.

“We’re in shock. He was a healthy kid, he played soccer,” the father told Channel 12.

The boy’s big sister, aged 10, has been hospitalized at Barzilai for several days after experiencing spasms. The remaining three sisters — aged 7, 4 and 2 — were all taken to the hospital on Monday with mild symptoms.

Their grandfather told Channel 13 that “the whole family was feverish.”

Officials are checking whether Yosef’s death was linked to the background illness, to a post-COVID syndrome known as PIMS that has been known to affect some children, or to another cause.

We’re checking all possibilities,” Barzilai Hospital director Hezi Levy told the Ynet news site. “Everything is being looked at, but there’s no clear answer for now.”

The hospital was also investigating the possibility that Yosef had been poisoned.

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