Logan’s Story


June 18, 2011: A happy 3-year-old with a mischievous twinkle in his eye sits on a brightly-colored mat, busily building a block castle. He reaches as high as he can to crown the swaying tower with one final block, then sends it crashing to the floor with a well-thrown neon football. He screeches a carefree laugh, and gathers the plastic pieces to do it again.

Logan may seem like a typical child, but just weeks ago, he lie critically ill in a pediatric intensive care unit, paralyzed with a mysterious illness that struck at lightning speed.

April 29, 2011: While with family in Oregon, the characteristically boisterous Logan was not himself. Friday he complained of sore legs, Saturday he was having trouble standing. Logan’s worried mother rushed him to the emergency room, where he was diagnosed with an ear infection, given nausea medicine and discharged.

Sunday morning Logan was unable to stand or even sit up. Baffled by drastically worsening symptoms, his family sought a second opinion at another ER. He underwent tests and was immediately admitted to the pediatric ICU.

What was happening to this normal, healthy 3-year-old? And why was it happening so quickly? By Monday, Logan’s family had the answer: Their little boy was suffering from Guillain-Barré (Ghee-yan Bah-ray) syndrome.

“They told us he had Guillain-Barré and that it was going to get worse,” recounts Logan’s mother Shannon.

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system. GBS strikes rapidly, and symptoms can intensify until the patient is almost completely paralyzed. In these cases, the disorder is life-threatening.

Logan’s case was severe; the attack on his nerves left him in agony; muscle weakness rendered him unable to move or speak. As his condition deteriorated, a feeding tube nourished him and a ventilator breathed for him. He developed pneumonia, a partially-collapsed lung and high blood pressure. He had an allergic reaction to the intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatments used to lessen the severity of symptoms. Logan had become very sick in a very short time.

To make matters worse, Logan’s father and brothers had to return to Texas, leaving the child and his mother isolated 2,000 miles away from family. Logan was too sick for commercial airline travel, and would be for months. Shannon was discouraged, wondering how she could be away from her family and her job for so long. She reached out to friends, several of whom had seen Angel MedFlight on Facebook. She called us, desperate for help, but not very hopeful.

Angel MedFlight CEO Jeremy Freer listened to this concerned young mother and took the reins. With years of experience in air medical transport, Jeremy understood the importance of receiving medical care close to family. He arranged a medical flight from Portland to Cook Children’s in Fort Worth, Texas, where Logan would receive specialty care at the facility’s neurology center.

“The flight crew was amazing, taking care of Logan and making sure he was safe and comfortable the entire time,” says Shannon. “From the moment they showed up at his hospital bed to pick him up, I felt very confident in their care, until the moment they left us at Cook’s. They monitored him very closely and treated him as if he were their own child.”

The progress Logan has made since his transfer closer to family is astonishing. Discharged from Cook Children’s much sooner than expected and now back with his parents, older brothers and puppy Maverick, Logan grows stronger each day.

“It’s a total difference, having the brothers here and his friends across the street. They come over every day and play. It really pushes Logan – he wants to do the same things they’re doing,” says Shannon.

Logan is already talking, feeding himself, crawling, swimming and riding his tricycle. Doctors predicted he would be walking within six months, but Logan shattered those expectations, taking his first steps July 10.

Says Shannon, “He still has a long recovery ahead of him but the doctors and therapists all say he is getting better faster than expected because he is with his support system. He wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for Angel MedFlight. I will never forget Jeremy who made this possible and the rest of the flight crew that got my family back together.”

To read more of Logan’s story, visit http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/loganchettri/mystory.

Sources: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/gbs/gbs.htm, Official Site of the GBS/CIDP Foundation International