NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A terrifying close call for a Hamilton Heights family has turned into a warning for parents.
The seemingly routine medical problem nearly took the life of a 6-year-old boy.
As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez explained, a strep infection turned into a true medical emergency.
It seems hard to believe that such a rambunctious bundle of energy could have been near death just a few weeks ago, but back in late January, Myles Lewis had a strep infection that may or may not have started as a strep throat.
“No fever, no injury to his throat, not even a change in his voice,” Myles’ father Fred said.
In any case, Myles suddenly started having joint pain all over his body.
“It was the left hip, and the leg and the knee. It (his back) was hurting before, but now it don’t hurt no more,” Myles said.
Myles had a strep infection that had spread to multiple joints. Chief of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery, Dr. Abigail Allen, showed CBS2’s Dr. Gomez the infection in Myles’ hip — white material was an indication of a massive infection which had spread to his spine.
“His right leg was not working very well, so in a matter of hours he would have been paralyzed,” Dr. Allen said. “We have to do surgery, because antibiotics won’t get the bulk of the infection out. We have to wash it out.”
It took four surgeries on Myles’ ankles, hip, and spine late on a Friday night to clean out the infection, but then it was a month in the hospital with IV antibiotics, before he was out of the woods.
Now, he can finally get out of his wheelchair and walk around and start getting back to full activity.
So, what can parents learn from Myles’ case?
“If child does not look well, has fever, can’t put weight on, come in right away,” Dr. Allen said.
If Myles had waited through the weekend.
“Myles would not be with us,” Dr. Allen said.
A case like Myles’ is very rare. Even a tertiary center like Mt. Sinai may only see one or two a year.
If there is suspicion of a bacterial infection, time is critical because a child can go from a little sick to near death in hours.