Ohio girl, 9, wanted to ‘touch a lot of hearts’ before death from COVID-19, mom says

Dorielis Reyes-Paula spent the last few months of her life battling brain inflammation and body paralysis due to COVID-19

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A young child who passed away due to COVID-19 complications is helping doctors learn more about the virus and how it impacts children.

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Dorielis Reyes-Paula was only 9-years-old when she passed away from COVID-19 related complications this summer. She was one of the first children in the country to come down with the illness. The Middletown, Ohio native’s mother recently said her daughter wanted to be a pastor, per People Magazine.

Dorielis Reyes-Paula
Dorielis Reyes-Paula (Courtesy of family)

“She told me, ‘I want to be a preacher, I want to touch a lot of hearts,'” said Paula’s mother, Doranny M. Paula Escolastico.

This past Mother’s Day, Escolastico assumed her daughter fell while playing with other kids because she was having difficulty walking. But as she continued to struggle, the mother took her daughter to the hospital and that is when they discovered she had contracted the virus.

“It was a surprise to me because I wasn’t expecting that she would have COVID,” Escolastico added. “She had muscle pain, but she didn’t have anything else. I just gave her Tylenol.”

Dorielis did complain to her mother about having a headache which the doctors initially said could be due to her being a growing child.

“They discovered she had brain inflammation, so they were treating her for a lot of things,” said Escolastico. “I didn’t know what was going on and it was very scary.”

After being in the intensive care unit, doctors sent Dorielis home on July 14. However, she began having seizures and went back to the hospital.

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“She went back into the intensive care unit,” said Escolastico. “I remember that she’s always shaking and shaking, and they are giving her morphine, valium because she’s in so much pain.”

The doctors ultimately told Escolastico her daughter was dying. She died on Aug. 19.

“She always faced everything with a big smile, and that’s why we miss her,” she said. “It makes me feel better because I know she never was negative, always positive. I was so blessed for having her.”

Escolastico said doctors are studying her daughter’s autopsy and she would have wanted it that way.

“Now it’s December. I just called pathology. They still aren’t done with her,” said the mother. “They want to study her brain to help other kids.”

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