Miracle boy walks again

By Chris Willmott 01/06 Updated: 01/06 11:55

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Buy photos » The McLoughlin family celebrate Owen’s return to health. Picture courtesy of Caters.

A BOY left paralysed by a rare immune disorder has made an amazing recovery.

As Owen McLoughlin lay in hospital his parents were warned he might never walk again.

But the little fighter has stunned everyone by battling back to full health.

His mum Taflyn, 35, said: "My biggest fear was him not recovering and being paralysed for the rest of his life.

"To look at him now, you wouldn't know how ill he was. He has fought through it.

"He's a miracle. That's the only way I can describe it."

Owen, now three, was paralysed from the neck down after falling ill in February last year.

Taflyn and husband Sean, 40, first realised something was wrong when their son started limping.

The couple took him to their GP who thought he might have an infection in his hip and referred him to Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham.

Owen was kept in hospital for a couple of days while doctors ran tests, which came back clear.

They thought it could be a virus and he was allowed home but he was rushed back in after going downhill.

Taflyn said: "He was refusing to sit or stand and was crying out in pain. He was shouting: 'Get off me.'

"We didn't know what it was. It was terrifying."

Doctors were left baffled and over the next week they ran further tests which revealed he had Guillain-Barre Syndrome - a disorder where the body's immune system attacks the nervous system by mistake.

His parents, who kept a vigil at their son's bedside, were warned the disorder could be life-threatening if his breathing muscles became affected.

He was given a high dose of immunoglobulin to reduce the attack on his nervous system but his condition quickly deteriorated until he was paralysed from the neck down.

For seven weeks, he couldn't move and wouldn't eat.

Taflyn, from Solihull, added: "He was very weak. He couldn't even hold his head up. I kept thinking why was it happening to us?

"It was devastating. I was shattered by it. I asked the medical staff if he would walk again and they wouldn't answer me.

"I tried not to be negative but I knew that wasn't a good sign. I was frightened he would be paralysed for the rest of his life."

Owen was in so much pain he needed the strongest dose of painkillers allowed for a child his age.

After a second course of treatment, he slowly started to respond and he moved for the first time.

With the help of intense physiotherapy, the brave toddler finally regained enough strength to leave hospital and go home to be with his parents and four-year-old sister Alys.

Now, a year on after his life-threatening battle with the disorder, Owen is back to full health and has started nursery.

"Today, Owen is like a normal little boy. He's really well. He's always running around and loves playing on his scooter. We are so thankful," added Taflyn.

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Buy photos» Brave Owen in hospital when he was paralysed from the neck down. Picture courtesy of Caters.

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