Words: Krista Thurrott
A family from Indiana, US, is reeling after their two-year-old toddler came down with a mystery illness that took over his body, cutting off circulation to his limbs and leaving him a quadruple amputee.
Mom Ashley Cox said her son, who loves to play with his siblings, was running around a park just days before getting sick.
Cox told Indiana-based news station Fox 59 that her two-year-old, Jeremiah Thompson, initially came down with a fever. As his temperature continued to rise, she knew it was something more sinister than your average cold.
“It was the fever of 104, that’s when I knew something was wrong,” she said.
“And my son’s covered now from head to toe in these purple…and it wasn’t little dots now it was big old blotches that was just taking over. It was scary.”
She took Jeremiah to a nearby children’s hospital, where doctors immediately administered an antibiotic to tackle the infection.
His parents were shocked to learn the mystery illness had already cut off all circulation to his limbs. The limbs required immediate amputation.
“That was necessary, because you can’t continue to have portions of your body attached to you that are no longer alive,” said Dr. Alyson Baker, who works in Indiana’s Riley Hospital for Children paediatric ward. “That’s just a huge risk for infection.”
At the same time as the two-year-old was in hospital, Cox gave birth to her fourth child. It was also at this time that she was notified Jeremiah would require an amputation.
“We had to realise that this was going to save our son, and it was hard,” she said.
Luckily, the two-year-old’s limbs were amputated in a way that allows future prosthetics to be fitted.
The family is now recovering and Jeremiah is currently in rehabilitation, relearning how to crawl without his limbs. As for identifying the mystery illness — the family may never know what caused this quadruple amputation as the initial antibiotics were quick to combat the bacteria.
While Cox said there seems to be a lot of uncertainty right now, she remains optimistic that the two-year-old has a bright future ahead.
“One day my son could be the top designer of prosthetic legs and arms because he went through this. You know, he could do anything in his lifetime. We don’t know yet,” she said. “This might stop him now, but I think the future will be bright for him.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to assist with medical bills.
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