Brandon Goes Home

By: Rachel Calderon
By: Rachel Calderon

The day before Brandon Cassel leaves Sparrow Hospital for the first time in five months. He's making thank you cards for his classmates for remembering his birthday.

"It made me feel special," said Brandon.

In June, Brandon suffered from a severe fever and within minutes of arriving at Sparrow's emergency room, a rash spread throughout his body.

Doctors found Brandon had Meningococcemia, a blood stream infection caused by a bacteria that can lead to meningitis.

"It hasn't affected his learning ability or his brain. He's doing remarkably well," said Dr. Amy Lindmark.

The infection caused several organs to fail and doctors had no choice but to amputate some fingers and a foot. But Brandon never lost his positive spirit and his parents say without it, neither Brandon nor his family would have survived.

"He's encouraging me more than I encourage him. He's been a solid rock though this whole thing," said Jerry Cassel, Brandon's dad.

Now as he looks forward to going home, he's giving thanks once again: to the friends he's made at Sparrow who've made the last five months a little easier.

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Meningococcemia Facts

  • Meningococcemia is a rare bacteria that infects the bloodstream, causing reaction throughout the body.

  • Meningococcemia usually strikes children who are usually healthy and hits without warning.

  • More than half of the children diagnosed with the bacteria die.

  • Children who survive have a good chance for continued health problems throughout life, such as gangrene and brain damage.

  • Meningococcus enters the body through the nose and throat.

  • Treatment is with antibiotics, and early medical attention is important. Diagnosis is confirmed by laboratory testing.

  • The disease is spread by direct contact with mucus or saliva from the nose and throat of an infected individual.

  • As many as 25 percent of the population carry the organism in their throat at any given time with no sign of illness. Only very occasionally does it invade the body to cause meningococcal disease.

      Source: A collection of web reports contributed to this report


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