School of Medicine

First-of-its-kind surgery allows child with polio-like illness AFM to walk again

Dr. Amy Moore with Brandon. (Photo: CBS News)

From CBS News

Brian Noblitt says it only took one week for his son Brandon’s health to deteriorate in 2016. “One Saturday we played baseball, everything was normal,” he told correspondent Adriana Diaz. “Tuesday into Wednesday, cold-like symptoms. And then as the week progressed, had a headache and neck pain.”

Days later, Brandon couldn’t use his legs to get out of bed. “I knew then something was very wrong,” Brian said.

“What did you think?” asked Diaz.

“Your mind doesn’t go to paralysis.”

A doctor diagnosed Brandon with acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM. Brandon, now 8 years old, was wheelchair bound.

Little is known about the rare, polio-like condition found most often in children. Symptoms include sudden arm or leg weakness, and reflex loss.

When asked what was the hardest part for him, Brandon said, “While all your friends are running around and playing, it’s just hard to sit in the bed and do nothing the whole time.”

His family eventually turned to Dr. Amy Moore, of Washington University in St. Louis. “My goal with the children with AFM was to restore hip stability, and then motion of the upper legs,” she said.

Brandon would receive what doctors say is a first-of-its-kind surgery that allowed him to walk again.

  Read more and watch at CBS News.