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Oregon boy's COVID-19 diagnosis reveals rare heart condition

Torin Whitehorse's parents say he is currently in Seattle Children’s Hospital waiting to receive a heart transplant.

SEATTLE — The parents of a 6-year-old Oregon boy say they discovered their son had a rare heart condition after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.  

Torin Whitehorse’s parents say he is currently in Seattle Children’s Hospital on a waiting list for a heart transplant.

For weeks, Torin’s connection to the outside world has come through a phone screen.

“We made it through the whole pandemic without getting sick,” Torin’s mother, Kaitlyn Whitehorse said.

That was until last month. Kaitlyn caught COVID-19 and, despite isolating, passed it to her husband Nathan and their son, Torin.

“He had a high fever. He was sweating a lot and then he started slouching over and that morning,” Nathan Whitehorse said. 

“Because of COVID, I didn’t risk it. I was just going to take him in like now. I got him a go-bag, got everything ready because I was prepared for the worst.”

That’s where the story takes a turn. While his parents thought they were dealing with complications from COVID 19 doctors diagnosed their son with a rare heart condition, restrictive cardiomyopathy.

“He’s here and he’s alive. Had I not caught COVID we could have just woke up one day and our son could have been having a heart attack, completely one-hundred percent,” Kaitlyn said.

It's a condition that’s so serious that Torin is now waiting on a heart transplant at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital.

According to the CDC, most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all. However, in this case, COVID shed light on an underlying condition the family suspected – but did not know was there.

“COVID is not a joke. It’s real and it really, really does hurt and it really does hurt people,” Kaitlyn said.

“When it hits your kids it’s different. You don’t really know what’s going to happen,” Nathan added.

As the world begins to open back up, Torin’s future remains on hold. All this family can do is wait for an organ donor as it’s the best chance they have to get their son off Facetime and back home.