Florida teen received unproven treatment at home before dying of COVID-19 at hospital, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. - The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a medical examiner's report concludes.

The home care included giving the girl unproven drugs and putting her on an oxygen tank used by her grandfather.

Carsyn Leigh Davis died June 23 as Lee County's youngest victim of the novel coronavirus. Nearly two weeks before her death she had attended a 100-person church function and, according to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office, "She did not wear a mask. Social distancing was not followed."

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Carsyn Davis, 17, of Fort Myers and student at Cypress Lake High School, died Tuesday, June 23, 2020, due to complications from COVID-19.
Carsyn Davis, 17, of Fort Myers and student at Cypress Lake High School, died Tuesday, June 23, 2020, due to complications from COVID-19.

The News-Press could not independently verify which church was involved and a call to the possible host of the event was not returned Monday. A reporter also tried to reach the girl's mother without success on Monday.

The girl had struggled with a number of health issues over the years, including a rare nervous-system disorder that resolved when she was 5, obesity and an auto-immune disorder, the report states.

Her mother, a nurse, and a man identified in the report as her father, a physician assistant, gave the girl azithromycin — an antibiotic being studied as a potential COVID-19 treatment — as a protective measure, the report states.

But on June 13, the girl developed a frontal headache, sinus pressure, and mild cough. The family assumed they were the result of a sinus infection, the report states.

On June 19, the girl's mother noticed that she looked "gray" while sleeping. The girl was then given an unspecified dose of hydroxychloroquine — an arthritis and lupus drug some, including President Donald J. Trump, have touted as a possible treatment for COVID-19.

The report does not state if the girl had a prescription for either drug.

Either way, there is little evidence that hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment of COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration has warned people not to use the drug outside of supervised hospital settings because of its potential to cause heart, liver and kidney problems.

Her parents then employed oxygen used by her grandfather, who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, before taking her to Gulf Coast Medical Center in south Fort Myers.

Officials transferred Davis to The Golisano Children’s Hospital, which confirmed she had COVID-19. The girl's family refused to allow her to be intubated, opting for plasma treatment, the report says. That didn't work, and the girl was later intubated.

She was later transferred to Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami.

A GoFundMe account set up in Davis' name had received nearly $8,400 in donations as of Monday.

On it, her mother, Carole Brunton Davis, said: "We are incredibly saddened by her passing at this young age, but are comforted that she is pain-free. Heaven gained an angel. Carsyn did not have an easy life."

Contributing: Melanie Payne, The News-Press

Follow Frank Gluck on Twitter: @FrankGluck

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Teen who died of COVID-19 got hydroxychloroquine treatment at home