JESSE?S OUR MIRACLE BOY
By NERIDA BLOK
NINE-year-old Jesse Souter, of Lismore, has been dubbed the mystery miracle boy of Brisbane's Mater Children's Hospital.
The St Carthage's Primary School student is recovering from an ordeal that nearly killed him, and doctors still don't have any answers as to what caused his condition.
Doctors said they thought he was going to die, or at the very least suffer serious brain damage, but instead he bounced back and is expected to make a full recovery.
"It was so scary," his father, Andrew Souter, of Lismore, said. "I've never prayed so hard in my life. We just didn't know what it was."
Jesse's mystery illness began on Father's Day, Sunday, September 4.
"At around 9.30pm he was vomiting three or four times with some traces of blood," said his mother, Kim Braid, also of Lismore.
"We took him to emergency (at Lismore Base Hospital) just to get him checked that Sunday night and they said he appeared to have a 24-hour bug."
His parents took him home to rest, but by Monday afternoon the following day he had 'seized up'.
"His lips were blue, he was holding his arms really tight," Andrew said.
Taken back to Lismore Base Hospital, Jesse was transferred by ambulance to Brisbane where he spent the next nine days in intensive care.
Dr Haseena Mohamed, a registrar treating Jesse at the Mater, said he was critically sick with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) when he arrived.
"We thought he was going to die," she said.
"All his brain function tests were showing a poor outcome.
"The X-rays showed some areas of his brain were damaged and he was on life support."
Dr Mohamed said Jesse's illness was very unusual and the cause was still unknown.
"We've done a whole lot of metabolic test investigations and also screening for other rare infectious causes, but we still don't know," she said.
She said the long-term effects of Jesse's brain damage remained unclear, but he appeared on track for a full recovery.
"He is amazing," she said.
"Looking at how sick he was when he came in, no one would have expected him to come this far.
"He has done remarkably well."
Jesse remains in the Mater Children's Hospital where he is undergoing intensive physiotherapy, speech and occupational therapy.
His recovery is being helped along by Robin -? the Rehabilitation of Children with Acquired Brain Injuries and Neuro Muscular Disorders.
"We have no idea how long he'll be here for," said Kim.
"It's just good to see his eyes open, smiling and talking."
Kim said she knew Jesse was missing his three very special school friends at St Carthage's.
"He can't wait to see them. I know that," she said.
"And he's looking forward to now going out and raising money for the hospital. That's what he thrives on.
"He loves helping people."
Kim and Andrew wished to thank staff from the Mater Hospital's intensive care unit for their ongoing support.