Little Berny who has been here through AMH several times for his cleft lip & palette repairs, is now back in the US. Vanessa traveled to Haiti over a week ago to bring several children back (reunion pics coming soon) and to meet with a few folks. The day she arrived, she heard from Bernard, our wonderful Haitian friend who helps us with the medical visas, that Berny, his son, had woken up that very morning unable to walk or even move his legs! He was fine when he went to bed the night before, but the Haitian doctor feared he may have hurt his back and had sent them for an x-ray. Unfortunately, over the course of the next few days, the paralysis ascended to his arms and his hands. Vanessa found an American doctor to take a look at Berny and she diagnosed him with Ascending Paralysis or Guillain-Barre sydrome (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/gbs/detail_gbs.htm). This is a strange sydrome caused by a virus and causes on-going paralysis until it runs its course. The immediate problem for Berny and his family; however, was the short-term concern that if it reached his diaphram and his lungs, Berny would not be able to breathe. There are no facilities to provide children with this type of urgent care in Haiti. If the virus reached his lungs, he would need to be put on a ventilator quickly in order to save his life.
Thankfully, Dr. Tracee was able to write the letter soon after she examined him and Vanessa was able to get an emergency visa for Berny to return with her for care. A hospital in Roanoke, Virginia agreed to give him care and he did well on the trip. He was put in PICU for a number of days and given as much medications as was able for this disease. Fortunately, the paralysis did not reach his lungs and he has some use of his arms at this time. He was released a few days ago and is staying with Heather and her family for the time being. Our prayers are now for his recovery and that he will be able to learn to walk once again. The doctors in Roanoke said that Berny is the youngest patient they have ever seen with his disease and they are unsure of how to predict his recovery. Most patients do recover all or most of their full functions after a period of time, so we remain optimistic for Berny. Please keep this little man and his family in your prayers.