Healthcare

A Facebook post helped a mother to save her child from polio like illness

A stranger’s Facebook post possibly saved the life of a 2-year-old child. The mother of a child was able to identify the horrible illness similar to polio was sickening her child. Three years ago, Rachel Scott’s son suddenly lost his ability to swallow. He was 5 years old back then. A few days later, he also lost the ability to move everything except his left hand’s fingers. A paralysis hit the child hard on his body. After a week, doctors could finally tell he was suffering from acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). This AFM is a very rare condition similar to polio.

Rachel Scott told Good Morning America that her son still could not swallow. “He is still fed through a tube. However, we are confident that if we had known sooner, we could have stopped it from spreading. Perhaps the effect wouldn’t have been as severe.” Rachel started AFM awareness by sharing her son’s story on Facebook. Rachel’s story caught the attention of Elizabeth Cardone. Cardone noticed similar symptoms in her 2-year-old son Corbin. First, he was suffering from cold. However, once he started recovering from his respiratory problems, he collapsed in his crib.

Elizabeth said, “I remember seeing Rachel’s post and thinking how horrific and tragic thing her family was dealing with. Going from the common cold to on life support.” Elizabeth immediately thought of Rachel’s story. She immediately thought of AFM. Elizabeth contacted Rachel on Facebook as soon as she saw similar symptoms in her son. Taking Rachel’s advice, Elizabeth asked Corbin’s pediatrician if he has AFM. Corbin got diagnosed with AFM. He started walking four days after he lost the ability to walk. “We carried him to the hospital when he was unable to walk. And 2 weeks later, he started running. He made a full recovery.” Elizabeth could save her son from the horrible illness because of Rachel’s Facebook post. AFM is a sporadic illness. According to the CDC, AFM cases were 200 in 2018. The number was reduced to 28 in 2019.

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Rowena Goodwin

I've written about health care for one and a half decades. I wrote for Modern Healthcare and several Iowa newspapers, including the Des Moines Register. I am passionate about health literacy when it comes to explaining the complexities of health care. A better-understood health system may save someone some money or their life.

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