The Toll Mounts From a Mystery Disease Some Call “The New Polio”

Carter Roberts’ motorized wheelchair didn’t arrive until the day he died. It had been a long time coming and his parents had fought hard to get it. The chair cost more than $32,000 and the insurance companies wouldn’t cover it, so the family went to court. One insurer eventually agreed to pay for some components of the chair but not the whole thing. And then none of it mattered anyway. On Sept. 22, 2018, the Roberts’ doorbell rang and the chair was delivered. Also on Sept. 22, 2018, Carter died, just three months shy of his sixth birthday. He had been largely paralyzed for the final two years of his life. The family is only now beginning to pick their way through the horror of what happened. “Our eight-year-old daughter believes she can speak to him,” says Carter’s mother Robin. “She was playing video games the other day and she’s looking up and going, ‘Carter are you seeing this? I need your help.’” By any measure, the Roberts family of Richmond, Va. was spectacularly unlucky. They lost their son to a disease that science first recognized only in 2012. It’s new enough that it didn’t even have a formally accepted name until 2014. When it got one, it was one of those names that is more or less just a clinical description of what the disease is: acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a sudden inflammation of spinal tissue resulting in flaccid paralysis of the muscles of the limbs, neck, face and often d...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized Infectious Disease viruses Source Type: news

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