You can't help but smile when you meet four-year-old Andy. This bubbly, active preschooler has made monumental strides since his admission to Blythedale Children's Hospital four months ago.
In January, a previously healthy Andy suffered an unexpected seizure while at home. Upon admission to his local acute care hospital, Andy was experiencing unstable vital signs, as well as left-sided weakness, slurred speech and agitation. Diagnosed with NMDAR encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain commonly caused by a virus, Andy was admitted to Blythedale's Traumatic Brain Injury Unit in March. Upon admission, he was unable to make any purposeful movements and was significantly disoriented, and as such, benefited greatly from his new low-stimuli, private room.
Blythedale's clinical staff collaborated closely with his team of referring doctors, as multiple appointments for immunotherapy and chemotherapy were arranged. He began an intensive regimen of physical, occupational, speech and feeding therapy. He responded quickly to his therapies, and within one month regained his ability to sit, stand, and ultimately, walk.
Mom and I looked at each other, and we both knew he had met his goal."
In occupational therapy, he honed his fine-motor skills and became adept at handling scissors and crayons. His progress with his speech therapist took a little more time, but was deeply gratifying when, after months of non-verbal communication, Andy cried out, "Mama!" His speech therapist described the process by which the brain "reorganizes" following injury, noting that it came together on the day he called out for his mother, shortly followed by his ability to speak in full sentences again.
His proud physical therapist, Maureen Carroll, related his progress shortly before discharge, recalling watching Andy and his twin brother play soccer in Blythedale's Therapy Village. According to Carroll, "a colleague saw the boys playing and asked me which one I was treating."
Andy was discharged home this summer to his delighted family.