Wyatt's Story

 

One night can change everything. Wyatt Banks went to sleep as a happy, healthy 7-month-old who was meeting all his developmental milestones ahead of schedule. However, the next morning, he was unable to move and he was struggling to breath. There was no accident and no warning. He had suddenly become a rag doll. His arms and legs dangled from his little body. He could no longer bear weight on this legs. He couldn’t sit up on his own and could no longer hold his bottle. His parents, Jason and Abby Banks, were terrified and clueless to what was happening to their infant son.

Jason and Abby took Wyatt to his pediatrician who immediately sent Wyatt to the emergency room of their local hospital. Wyatt was admitted to the hospital where doctors struggled for three days to determine a cause for Wyatt’s condition. After running out of options at his local hospital, Wyatt was transferred to Children’s Hospital of Greenville Health System. That is where everything changed.

Following an MRI, Dr. Addie Hunnicutt diagnosed Wyatt with a one-in-a-million autoimmune disease called transverse myelitis. Wyatt’s immune system had attacked his spinal cord, creating inflammation that left him paralyzed from the neck down, and there was no guarantee that Wyatt would ever get better. Dr. Hunnicutt started Wyatt on a 5-day course of strong IV steroids to stop the autoimmune attack.

While in the PICU, Wyatt received his steroid treatments follow by and IVIG treatments to help restore movement. Wyatt grew stronger daily. His breathing improved greatly and arm and hand movement began to return. Wyatt was even able to begin physical and occupational therapy while he was still in the PICU which is essential in recovery from transverse myelitis. Wyatt spent two weeks in the PICU before being released to an inpatient rehabilitation facility.

Despite a good recovery, Wyatt is still a regular visitor to GHS Children’s Hospital and it's doctors. Specialist in neurology, pulmonology, sleep medicine, and urology monitor Wyatt’s medical needs to keep him healthy and thriving. Today, he is a paraplegic and a full-time wheelchair user, but it doesn’t slow him down. He is an energetic four-year-old who loves popping wheelies and going fast. He also loves attending school and taking part in adaptive sports like wheelchair tennis and adaptive surfing. None of this would be possible without GHS Children’s Hospital. Wyatt would have been forced to watch life go by from a bed, totally dependent on others to care for him had it not been for GHS Children’s Hospital.

 

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If you'd like more information about supporting Children’s Hospital of Greenville Health System, please contact: Crissy Maynard, cmaynard@ghs.org.

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