Virginia boy suffering from brain bleed has to wait for medical testing due to COVID-19


FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — During the current health crisis, health care for non-emergency patients has somewhat been put on hold — forcing hospitals to cancel or pushback medical testing, procedures, and surgeries.

A Virginia child suffering from a brain bleed and is in need of medical testing, but hasn’t been able to get it because of COVID-19. His parents opened up to 8News, discussing some of the challenges their family has faced in getting their son the care he needs during the pandemic.

Finn Blumenthal was born with a congenital heart defect. Doctors said he wouldn’t make it, but he did.

Finn spent the first 8 months of his life in a hospital room and now at 5-years-old, the little fighter has survived two open-heart surgeries and 16 operations.

Photo provided by Blumenthal family

However the day before Thanksgiving, Finn suffered a setback, collapsing at a Wegman’s store.

“He had a potential stroke in the check-out line,” Finn’s mother Kelly Blumenthal said. “It was extremely scary.”

Blumenthal said the initial MRI showed Finn had a subdural bleed in his brain, but doctors needed to perform a second MRI to see exactly where his brain is bleeding.

“In February we found out that it is most likely progressing,” Blumenthal said. “The MRI was scheduled for March, but because of COVID-19 everything has been on hold right now.”

Finn’s family lives in Stafford, but travels to Philadelphia for all his appointments at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His specialized care providers say the bleed is not life-threatening right now and have decided to hold off for the past two months. Finn has been taking medication to slow the bleed and ease the muscle spasms.

Despite all the medical complications, Blumenthal said Finn is in good spirits.

“We just sort of take everything day by day and look at the positives that we have that this isn’t life-threatening,” Blumenthal said. “We do have medical professionals keeping in touch with us with zoom and email.”

Blumenthal said it’s been a little stressful and that it’s always in the back of her mind, but she is prepared and knows the signs to look for if things turn bad.

Photo provided by Blumenthal family

She told 8News it’s been tough on her too because in January her hands went numb and she was having symptoms she’s never felt before. After visiting the doctor, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.

In order to narrow the possibilities and decide on a treatment plan, Blumenthal needs constant lab work which she isn’t able to get at Bon Secours in Richmond right now.

Hospitals are normally places of protection, but Blumenthal says in these ‘COVID times’, with having a high-risk child and having an autoimmune disease herself, she really has to weigh the risks.

Last week, Blumenthal said she got a call from Finn’s doctors saying they could perform the MRI at the end of May, but she said she and her husband are open to having the test after June 10, when Governor Ralph Northam’s ‘stay-at-home’ order expires.

Virginia’s elective surgery ban is expected to end on Friday.



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