HOUSTON – Doctors performed a second surgery on Alina Valenzuela on Monday after the teenager with no known underlying health conditions contracted COVID-19 and soon after went into cardiac arrest.
The Valenzuela family lives in Pearsall, near San Antonio. Alina Valenzuela is 13-years-old.
On Jan. 10, the teenager complained of chest pain and the family took her to an emergency room near their home, where they say she tested positive for COVID-19 and was sent home.
The next day, Valenzuela complained of chest pain again and fainted. Paramedics took her to a hospital in San Antonio.
“I get so overwhelmed,” Valenzuela’s older sister, Leticia, said. “I’m just praying and I have so much faith that she’s going to be healed.”
On Tuesday, Valenzuela went into cardiac arrest. Doctors eventually determined that the teenager needed special care at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. She was transferred on Friday.
“We’ve just got to keep the faith,” Valenzuela’s aunt, Janette Trevino said. “This is really, really overwhelming.”
Doctors implanted an Impella heart pump and performed two related surgeries, family members said. If the heart pump doesn’t help, Valenzuela may need a heart transplant.
“Doctors are doing everything they can to help strengthen her heart so they can slowly take her off (life support) and get her heart pumping by itself,” Trevino said.
Before going into cardiac arrest, Alina made one request.
“She said, ‘Take care of my pets. I’m going to be home soon,’” Leticia Valenzuela said.
Dogs Johngy and Bones and Chubs the guinea pig are in good hands until, family members hope and desperately pray, Alina is, in fact, home soon.
Relatives have set up a GoFundMe account to help the Valenzuela family pay for medical expenses. Click here to donate.