Girl sickened by EEE ‘beating the odds’ in rehab

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Portage girl who nearly died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis is now in rehabilitation in Grand Rapids.

After weeks in intensive care at Bronson Methodist Hospital,14-year-old Savanah DeHartchecked intoMary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospitalon Sept. 5.

“She’s beating the odds. I mean, even when we first came here I don’t think her prognosis was all that great, I want to say. And she doing things that they didn’t think she was going to do or sometimes a little quicker than they thought she might. But she’s definitely beating the odds of what everyone thought,” said her mother, Kerri Dooley.

Savanah started showing symptoms on Aug. 16, but her family had no idea it was EEE.

“She started acting a little bit different. She had a severe headache and just kind of lethargic and zombie-like, is what I call it,” her mother said.

Savanah’s family took her to Bronson Methodist Hospital’s emergency room, but her condition continued to deteriorate.

By the next morning, Savanah needed a ventilator to breathe.

“The hardest part was Aug. 22. That was the day she told us— er they told us she wasn’t going to make it. And the swelling got so bad that it went into her spinal cord and they didn’t think there was any return from that. So from that day to now, is a complete flip,” Dooley said in an interview with Mary Free Bed.

First, doctors thought Savanah had meningitis. Nine days after she was sickened, they had an answer: EEE.

The mosquito-borne infection has already sickened 10 peoplein West Michigan this year, four of whom have died.

Read more at 24 hour news 8

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