‘Life is forever changed for us,’ Milton teen in ICU with COVID-19

Coronavirus

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A 16-year-old girl from Milton has been fighting for her life for more than two weeks at a Pensacola hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

“This has been really hard,” Carmen Barlianto said.

Barlianto’s neice, Halene O’Connell, is battling the virus at Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart. Barlianto said O’Connell has been healthy and has no underlying health conditions.

“Everybody’s reacting different and it’s just awful,” she said.

A few weeks ago, O’Connell was preparing to be a senior this upcoming year at Milton High School, then she got COVID-19. She had a fever and was in a medically induced coma. She just got off of a ventilator Thursday but she’s still on oxygen, and she’s developed a rash on her body. She’s not eaten food in several weeks.

“Life is forever changed for us and who knows when everybody’s going to get see each other and she goes home..it was just a big sigh of relief yesterday but just like five minutes ago… here I am really sick, worried,” Barlianto said.

Barlianto’s main message to everyone right now is to wear a mask.

“Protect yourself, protect your family, loved ones,” she said. “Someone you know eventually is going to get hit with COVID and let’s hope it’s not as severe or death.”

A GoFundMe has raised more than $11,000 for her and her family.

“Thank you to the community and the doctors, the nurses, anybody that has helped and continue helping..please keep sharing her story for awareness,” she said.

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