Girl Nearly Killed By Mysterious Illness Is Recovering

Thursday, September 27th 2007, 10:57 am
By: News On 6

A Bixby family returns home after a mystery illness crippled their 4-year-old daughter and nearly killed her. Ella Morrow had a rare brain inflammation that left her with the mental and physical ability of an infant. But a new Oklahoma City treatment center helped her with an amazing recovery. The News On 6’s Steve Berg reports the Children's Center in Oklahoma City opened a new Rehab Unit this year that has doctors, psychiatrists, nutritionists, physical therapists, you name it, all working together to help kids get better.

Tia Morrow says it was in May, just a few days after her daughter Ella's fourth birthday, when the girl was hit with an illness that had everyone, including the doctors, baffled.

"Scared to death, not sure really what to think, what to hope for, nobody could tell us for sure what was happening, what to expect," Ella’s mother Tia Morrow said. "They said they didn't know, they just said we don't know."

Ella's immune system had reacted to a still unknown virus and caused a rare brain inflammation that put her in a coma like state.

"She just lay there for approximately three weeks," Morrow said.

When she woke up, she was paralyzed, couldn't talk or walk or eat, and the distraught couple discovered Ella didn't even recognize them. The Morrows, after visiting a similar clinic in Texas, decided to take Ella to the Children's Center in Oklahoma City.

"We weren't even sure what to expect from a rehab center. What could they do in the state she was in?" said Tia Morrow.

The answer is a lot.

"She's pretty much had to relearn how to talk, starting with Mama," Morrow said. "In the last two months, she's learned to sit, she's learned to talk, she's learned to walk, and eat. It's been pretty amazing."

Tia says the small clinic has a family feeling with highly individualized care, and they combine medical treatments with all kinds of other disciplines, including play based activities she says she would have never thought of like music therapy.

"A lot of singing based things,” Ella’s mother Tia Morrow said. “Those are automatic things that come back relatively quick, so they would sing "Old McDonald had a Farm" and the cow, and it says, what. And we would go over that and over it and over it, until she could understand.”

But Tia says one of the best parts was just being close to home, so family could visit more often, while not compromising Ella's care.

"It's such a treasure. It's such an asset to have here in the state," said Morrow.

Doctors estimate that Ella is now at a 2-year-old stage. She still has some trouble walking, but she's making rapid improvement on both fronts.

Watch the video: Ella's Survival