That’s the stuff of nightmares. You’re on vacation in Florida and suddenly get this horrible headache that’s so bad you can’t stand for others to touch you. You get to the hospital and they tell you that you’re brain is being eaten from the inside by a little critter, and by the way, you’re probably going to die. Great.
I thought their treatment strategy of whole body cooling and medically induced coma were interesting. I’m assuming they’re hypothesis was that since the amoeba only lives in warm water, that by providing a cooled environment the amoeba’s deadly march might be slowed enough to allow time for the antifungal drug to work. Good thinking! And what luck that the manufacturer of the necessary drug was just up the street from that hospital. That kid must have a great plan for his life, because God must have been watching over him for all this to fall into place. Sebastian is 1 of 4 people in the US EVER to have survived this.
It sounds like now that he’s survived, he will be receiving therapy. What would you do if Sebastian showed up on your caseload?
First, I would Google what in the world I was dealing with, because I surely wouldn’t have known what Naegleria fowleri meningitis was. Then I would have put that away, because in reality, it doesn’t matter what medical diagnosis label he’s been given; it matters how he presents. So then I’d go evaluate him and knowing that this amoeba involves the brain, be on the look out for CNS signs/symptoms like incoordination, motor planning difficulties, tone abnormalities, vestibular symptoms, cranial nerves– particularly the olfactory nerve, since that is the amoeba’s entry point– reflexes, sensory deficits and of course basic motor function… did I leave anything out? Anyway, a thorough evaluation is critical to determine exactly how this has effected him, so we can make a plan to improve those physical symptoms and screen for other problems that may need to be addressed by other disciplines.
An interesting case study for sure. I wish Sebastian and whoever of the therapy community gets to treat him well!