Just days after her sweet sixteen birthday celebration, Alize Bradford went to the doctor with what seemed to be an ordinary virus. Sent home to rest and wait it out, her symptoms worsened. She was then admitted to The Children’s Hospital – OU Medicine where she was diagnosed with Corona virus and pneumonia. Alize was moved to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and subsequently placed on a ventilator and into a medically induced coma. Her condition was so severe doctors placed her on an ECMO machine to oxidize her blood and she received several transfusions. While experiencing acute respiratory distress and pulmonary hypertension, Alize remained on the ventilator and ECMO to increase her chances of survival. While doctors monitored Alize around the clock, her mother prayed.
Alize’s condition gradually began to improve, although she continued to face challenges, including blood clots. Prayer vigils and an outpouring of support in her community of Moore, Oklahoma, helped her mother stay strong as the time passed. Once Alize was awake and able to talk, she called her mother to her bedside. Alize spoke of the perfect place she had visited during her coma and the loving care she received. Alize had been trying to call her mother constantly for days, and then saw a stairway she was too weak to climb. She then made the decision to return to her family. Her mother recalls, “I kissed her on the forehead and held her, while thanking God for holding her hands and returning her back to me.”
Once she was stabilized Alize was transferred to the Pediatric Medical Rehabilitation Unit at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital. Alize’s body was so weak she couldn’t move. One month earlier, Alize had been a strong, active high school cheerleader. “My perspective on life changed when I began my stay in the rehab center. It made me realize just how much we take things for granted,” says Alize. “People would walk into my room to visit me, and when they left I would cry. I saw how easily they could walk, and I could hardly walk at all. Everything we have in life is a blessing from God.”
Alize received a minimum of three hours of intensive daily therapy from physical to occupational to speech therapy. Her family was trained to care for her at home and given resources and tools they needed to transition Alize home and back into school. Melanie Connell, physical therapist at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital says, “In rehab, our goal is for the families to be active participants. We want them to be involved and we want them to go home feeling like they know how to take care of their child. Our team is so passionate about what we do. We wouldn’t see the outcomes that we see if we weren’t fully dedicated to each patient’s recovery.”
From a parent’s perspective, Alize’s mother felt connected to The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital the moment Alize’s first team meeting began with a prayer. “That’s when I knew this facility was God sent. I finally felt like I could help her, after losing all ability to help her while she was in a coma.”
Today, Alize’s health and strength have improved. She is enrolled at the University of Central Oklahoma where she is studying kinesiology–exercise and fitness management. She plans on applying to occupational therapy school. “Alize is a totally different child now. There is a glow about her,” explains her mother. “Everyone wants to be in her presence and they feel calmness around her. She is very in tune with her spirituality.”
Your membership into the Hospital’s new monthly giving program, 1898 Club, gives patients like Alize the chance to transition from hospital to home. To join the club today click here.