Another child in Oklahoma, treated for the rare polio-like condition known as Acute Flaccid Myelitis, is returning home after a short stay at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital.
Five-year-old Mackenzie Lacher, from Norman, was diagnosed with AFM in early November. She presented symptoms similar to a cold. After spiking a fever, Mackenzie was unresponsive. She had decreased reflexes and the ability to move her arms or her legs, and eat by mouth.
“We didn’t know if she was going to have to learn to walk and talk again,” said Mackenzie’s mother, Mandi Lacher. “She was pretty much in a coma for a couple of days, so we weren’t really sure how much she would get better.”
When Mackenzie arrived at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital, she was unable to walk. She immediately started an intense therapy routine consisting of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
“It’s a lot of play therapy. They play games with her, let her ride a bike to get her legs stronger, and speech therapists did memory games,” said Lacher. “She knew it was therapy, but at the same time they made it easier for her.”
After intense therapy, Mackenzie is now able to walk with assistance, eat by mouth and speak. She returned home to Norman today … less than one week before her 6th birthday. The exact cause of the illness is not known, which has caused alarm within the community.
“This condition is still considered very rare.,” Michael Johnson, M.D, Vice President of Medical Services/Director. “It’s more likely your child could come down with symptoms during the flu season that are more likely the flu rather than acute flaccid myelitis.”
While the outcome of most patients diagnosed with AFM is uncertain, one thing experts across the country agree on is the most important treatment for children diagnosed with AFM, is early, intensive rehabilitation.
As the only inpatient pediatric rehabilitation program in Oklahoma, staff at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital work with the patient and family to improve cognitive and/or physical function, mobility, healing and independence. Our team, led by one of Oklahoma’s only Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physicians, works with the family and the child to develop an individualized plan of care.
Currently, the CDC reports only one confirmed case of AFM. However, they are working with the Oklahoma State Department of Health to confirm this most recent case.
To learn more about the Hospital and it’s programs, please click here.