A doctor from Tennessee's Memphis has died of a COVID-19 related illness. But what makes this case important is the fact that the doctor did not know he had contracted the novel Coronavirus and got the vaccine against the disease.
The healthcare professional, Dr. J Barton Williams, fell ill a few weeks ago before his death. According to reports, Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, who helped to treat Williams, within a shorter period the disease went from diagnosis to death. "It was a matter of days. Just a tragedy," said Threlkeld.
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome
The Orthopedic Surgeon for OrthoSouth, Williams died on February 8 after he developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome or MIS. This is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. According to scientific data, usually it affects children.
Threlkeld explained that the immune system attacks the body in many ways and causes multi-organ failure. According to him, the fact that Williams tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies means that he had contracted the virus at one time. But he did not know about it. Later, he took the first shot followed by the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine weeks before his death.
After his demise, a rumor was spread linking the vaccine effects to his death. But then, the family members of the deceased doctor allowed those who treated him to speak about Williams' condition.
"The family has been incredibly generous and courageous in allowing the details of his case to be put out there for those of us who took care of him, just to try and make sure the facts were out there true," said Threlkeld.
The family wanted to let people know that the doctor was infected by a new variant, while the healthcare professionals never found an active virus in Williams' body. "It does seem to be in every case we have seen so far to be related to the virus itself. It is a post-viral, sometimes a few weeks later, a post-viral effect. Not during the first part of it."
It is not clear if the vaccine failed to be a protector in the case of Williams while he already was exposed to the novel Coronavirus. However, in terms of the vaccine's role, Threlkeld said that they are currently working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US to see how vaccines can play in all directions.
"We don't have any data to suggest the vaccine has any affect in either direction," he added.
Williams' case is very rare and considering this fact healthcare officials are now conducting meetings to study it. However, like other experts, Threlkeld also believes that the only way to avoid the COVID-19 is to get the vaccine shots.
But as of now, the exact reason behind the death of the doctor is unknown. According to reports, an autopsy is pending.