Illinois teen Sarah Simental had a series of mini-strokes and went into cardiac arrest, her mother said.

By Georgia Slater
January 04, 2021
| Credit: Facebook

An Illinois family is mourning the loss of their "perfectly healthy" teenage daughter who died of complications due to COVID-19 this month.

Sarah Simental, an 18-year-old from Tinley Park, died on Dec. 26, just three days after being admitted to the hospital with a positive coronavirus test, according to NBC Chicago.

Her mother, Deborah Simental, told the outlet that her daughter had been following all of the safety precautions and had only seen her boyfriend prior to experiencing symptoms.

Sarah first reported a minor headache on Dec. 16 and two days later her symptoms worsened as she developed a fever, chills and started vomiting.

The following morning, Deborah took Sarah to get a COVID-19 test and her results came back positive. Deborah, Sarah's boyfriend and the boyfriend's father continued to test negative.

"I truly have no idea how she contracted it," Deborah told the station.

Sarah was first admitted to Silver Cross Hospital on Dec. 23 when she started experiencing pain in her left shoulder. While at the hospital, her oxygen levels dropped and she was taken to the intensive care unit and placed on a ventilator.

She was later airlifted to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she died on Dec. 26.

Sarah had a series of mini-strokes and went into cardiac arrest, her mother told Today, and later had a brain bleed on both sides.

"They did what they could but it took her," Deborah said, noting that her daughter was a "perfectly healthy 18-year-old girl."

"I know she fought hard, my daughter was a fighter. But it just wasn’t enough, it wasn’t enough," she added. "It just took over. And it took her from all of us."

Deborah hopes that her daughter's story will act as a reminder for people to take the pandemic seriously.

"[Sarah's] dad and I are here to tell you — that it is real," Deborah told NBC Chicago. "There will be more holidays, birthdays, all these events we are not able to do. You will have them again. This took my daughter and we are not going to be able to have those again."

"Please, wear a mask, social distance. Don’t worry about getting together for these events, just wait until this is under control," she urged.

"You are not in the position that her father and I are in right now. Nobody should have to bury their child. No parent should have to watch their child go through what my daughter went through. It's been a nightmare," she added.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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