More Surgery Ahead For Oologah Boy Stricken With Meningitis
By Dan Bewley, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The family of a 6-year-old Oologah boy says he has made it through surgery to have his arms and legs removed. They say Jeremiah Mitchell will probably still need facial reconstruction surgery – all because he contracted bacterial meningitis.
Jeremiah Mitchell is now recovering after having all four limbs removed on Wednesday. The 6-year old contracted bacterial meningitis more than two weeks ago at Oologah's Lower Elementary School.
The disease killed two children and sent five others, including Jeremiah, to the Children's Hospital at Saint Francis. It's a case that has gripped the small town of Oologah and touched lives across the state.
Lonnie Rowan has been following the story from Fort Gibson. He has a unique insight to Jeremiah's tragic situation. Rowan had both of his legs amputated eight years ago after a getting burned in a brush fire.
He now has two prosthetic legs and says he can do nearly everything now as he could do before the accident.
"There's a few things I do that I have to do a little different, but I'm up walking," said Lonnie Rowan, a double amputee.
"People ask me, 'Can I run?' – well, I couldn't do much running to begin with but I'm happy just to walk"
Rowan admits his situation is different than Jeremiah's. But, he says, Jeremiah's age will help him adapt to any prosthetic arms or legs and adds with a strong support group and modern technology Jeremiah can learn to love a normal life.
"He's going to need all the moral support he can get, and there's going to be a lot of unanswered questions," Rowan said.
"He's going to need the parents and his siblings to get him through this. Stay strong, ‘cause he's going to need them," said Lonnie Rowan, who lost both legs after being burned in a brush fire.
The American Medical Association says the cost to provide a prosthetic for only one amputation below the waist for a child until they reach 18 years old can be as much as $116,000 dollars. A fund has been set up to help Jeremiah's family with any future surgeries.
How to help Jeremiah Mitchell:
An account has been set up at Lakeside State Bank in Oologah to help Jeremiah's family with medical bills. The account is called "Jeremiah Mitchell."
Checks can be sent to the bank at Box 190 Oologah, Oklahoma, 74053. Donations can also be dropped off at the bank's physical address: 12602 S. Highway 169 in Oologah.