Benjamin’s Story

14-year-old on way to State Championship…

Ben (14) was on his way to being state champion in all four areas of Taekwondo and preparing for his next tournament in Kansas City when he came home from school on a Monday, November 14, complaining he didn’t feel well and was sick to his stomach. He felt fine the next morning and went to school as usual. Sitting in History class, he put his head down and felt his heart beating really fast and asked his teacher to feel it. She immediately sent him to the office, who sent him to the school nurse. The nurse called me and said he had a heartbeat of 250 and I needed to come get him and take him to the emergency room. We live in a rural area and the closest emergency room is 30 minutes away. We arrived in emergency and I began to have a clue that this was serious when there were about 5- 6 staff in his room. They tried medicine to bring the heart rate down but ended up shocking him twice in an hour. He was then transported to KU medical center. He was in the Pediatric ICU for four days, he continued to have an irregular rhythm with PVCs. The Team tried to do an ablation but could not do it at this time. He was discharged with a life vest and scheduled for a pet scan the day before Thanksgiving. Ben was scheduled to try the ablation procedure again on Tuesday, November 29. Dr. Reddy said the ablation couldn’t be done because the Pet Scan showed inflammation all over his heart. He then ordered a heart biopsy. He said he wanted to know what was going on. Thank God for this doctor! The pediatric doctors told us they rarely order a biopsy of a child’s heart. Due to Dr. Reddy and the team at Mid America Cardiology we knew what was wrong, it was Giant Cell Myocarditis. They immediately started steroid treatment and Ben received a pacemaker and de brillator. Due to his age of 14, Ben was transferred to Children’s Mercy for continued treatment. I had emailed Dr. Cooper upon learning of Ben’s diagnosis and he called and left his phone number for consultation. The doctors (Dr. Birmbaum and team) followed the recommended course of treatment of steroids and immune suppression. What Ben thought was going to be an overnight stay for an ablation turned into 15 days in ICU.

Ben’s Story is a miracle. He recently had another Pet scan and it showed very little inflammation and he has been released to do some activity. He currently is on the High school golf team and is teaching younger students Taekwondo and beginning to participate again himself. We have been asked many times how can we go from such a diagnosis to almost back to normal routine in only 5 months. God answers prayers and works miracles through doctors such as Dr. Cooper, Dr. Reddy and Dr. Birmbaum! It was also through aggressive testing to know what was affecting the heart and a quick correct diagnosis, that Ben is alive today without a transplant. We thank the team at Mid America Cardiology, and Dr. Cooper’s therapy regime, which saved Ben’s life from this often deadly disease.