Florida nurse paralyzed after COVID-19 bout flown to Boston hospital

BOSTON — After flying into Massachusetts from Tampa, Florida, on an intensive care Jet plane, Desmon Silva was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital Saturday night for a rare infection that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

“They basically said it is COVID-related because it’s triggered by a viral infection,” said Barbara Bonnet, Desmon’s mother. “What happened is it laid dormant in my son’s system, still testing negative, still without any symptoms, but it was still there.”

Bonnet, who lives in Massachusetts, says her son is a 22-year-old nurse who works at a hospital in Florida.

Desmon tested positive for COVID-19 a couple months ago and seemed to make a full recovery, but just about a week ago, he lost feeling in his hands and had severe neck and back pain, so he went right to the emergency room.

“The doctor said about 8 or 9 minutes, he went unresponsive and they had to intubate him, he’s now on a ventilator, they sent him up to ICU,” said Bonnet.

She says doctors in Tampa did everything they could to keep her son alive, but now they hope he’ll get more advanced neurological treatment in Boston.

“They have a tentative diagnosis of transverse myelitis and that’s basically the inflammation of your spine,” said Bonnet.

Luckily she says Desmon can still communicate without speaking right now.

“What he does is he actually blinks for ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ raises his eyebrows for ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ he has full facial expression, he smiles, I can read his lips when he says ‘I love you mom.”

As a nurse herself, Bonnet says she’s still shocked the coronavirus could attack her son’s central nervous system, but she’s hopeful he’ll be back up and working as a nurse again after his stay in Boston.

“We’re hoping being in Boston with the best doctors and you know, rehab and everything like that, you know my son is still young, strong, healthy, so we’re aiming for a full recovery,” said Bonnet.

This family has set up a GoFundMe for Desmon Silva and they’ve already raised nearly $100,000.

Some of that will help pay for the cost of the private ICU Jet that transported him to Boston.

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