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South Florida teen girl who spent 11 days on a ventilator: “If you’re eligible to get the vaccine, please do”

South Florida – A South Florida teen girl who spent 11 days on a ventilator after she contracted COVID-19 sent a message to her peers and others.
“My message technically is: If you’re eligible to get the vaccine, please do,” Paulina Velasquez said. “I plan on getting vaccinated as soon as my doctor lets us know when I can.”
A 15-year-old, Paulina, had intended earlier this summer to get vaccinated, but then she got a runny nose, and then came headaches. She lost her sense of taste and smell. Breathing became hard. On July 11 she tested positive for the coronavirus.
Less than a week later, she was in a Fort Lauderdale hospital emergency room struggling to breathe normally.
Because her oxygen levels were low, doctors immediately put her on a ventilator. “That was the scariest moment when they told me because I didn’t know what to expect,” Agnes Velasquez said. At first, she didn’t want her daughter on a ventilator but she was told her daughter’s condition could get worse. Then she told the medical staff: “Just do what you can do to save my daughter’s life.”
Paulina also had pneumonia and was put in a medically induced coma. Her mother told her every day, “Fight for your life.”
According to Paulina’s doctor, Dr. Venu Devabhaktuni, the medical director for Broward Health’s pediatric ICU, in August she was “kind of touch and go” while she was on a ventilator.
“Things could have gone bad quickly, but she recovered because she’s one young, healthy child. That, I think that was in favor of her recovering,” Devabhaktuni said.
After a month, Paulina was well enough to go home from the Broward Health Medical Center, and now she is doing physical therapy to get stronger. Her arms and legs are still weak but she is now able to walk on her own.
Paulina said she is improving every day and she wants others to avoid a similar experience. “It is a very serious virus. This virus does not pick and choose who to infect,” she said, her words aimed at the unvaccinated. “It could hit you as hard as it hit me. And I don’t want anybody to go through what I went through.”
When Paulina will be strong enough she can get vaccinated doctors say.

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