December 16, 2018

Story of paralyzed boy who walked again after nerve transplant surgery still melts hearts

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Brandon Noblitt underwent a first-of-its-kind surgery that gave him back the ability to walk after a rare illness left him almost paralyzed in a week.

In an interview Brandon’s father, Brian, had with CBS, he revealed that everything was unbelievably sudden as the boy’s health deteriorated in only one week. Brandon was fine on a Saturday in 2016 as he even played baseball with his father.

By Tuesday, he started having cold-like symptoms and, as the week progressed, Brandon felt a headache and neck pain. By the end of the week, he couldn’t use his legs to get out of bed. He was only six years old.

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THE DIAGNOSIS

After running a myriad of tests, doctors found that Brandon had Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), a very rare disease that affects the spinal cord. It is often misdiagnosed for polio because it presents similar symptoms.

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When his parents learned how difficult and dangerous Brandon’s condition was, they turned to Doctor Amy Moore, who is the only doctor in the US capable of performing nerve transfers on the lower extremities of children suffering from AFM.

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THE SURGERY

A nerve transfer is when a healthy nerve us cut and transferred to the end of an injured nerve to restore movement or sensation. A few months after Dr. Amy performed the surgery, Brandon was able to flex his legs. Thanks to many physical therapy sessions, the boy began to take a couple of steps.

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By 2018, when Brandon was eight years old, he was able to walk and play outside with his friends. The boy who once said that the worst aspect of his illness was seeing other children playing while he couldn’t even get out of bed, now is grateful to Dr. Amy as he can play with his brothers and friends.

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Most doctors consider that his case is a miracle as they thought Brandon would have to use a wheelchair forever. However, the only time he uses so is to play football with his friends and family.

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ANOTHER MIRACLE

Brandon is not the only “miracle” case in medicine as Victoria Arlen penned a tell-all article for ESPN talking about her health issues. Victoria, former Paralympian swimmer and ESPN sportscaster, noticed that her health was deteriorating at the age of 11.

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Doctors found that she had two highly uncommon inflammatory disorders that caused her brain and spinal cord to swell, something that placed her in a coma for two years. When she woke up, she couldn’t control any part of her body, so Victoria was awake and aware of everything, but she couldn’t make anyone know it.

Experts prescribed her something to help her sleep and, by sheer luck, it cured the neurotransmitter that was misfiring. Little by little, things improved. Nowadays, she can talk, walk, move, and even dance.

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