Toddler Fell into a Coma After Developing Rare Disease from a Bite

On the 2nd birthday of their son, the Oblisk family received the best possible gift: their kid woke up after spending four days in a coma.

Jackson Oblisk contracted Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from a tick bite two weeks ago — a rare and sometimes fatal illness. He is anticipated to be all right now, but only after weeks of pain and misdiagnosis.

The dad and grandpa of Jackson took him to play in a park close their home in Hillview, Kentucky, on May 16. They noticed a tick on Jackson’s throat when they returned and removed it right away and threw it in the trash.

“They just pulled it off and moved right on,” his mom, Kayla, 24, told WHAS 11. “We didn’t think anything else of it at that point.”

But Jackson was covered with light pink spots and running a fever within three days. He was taken by Kayla to the pediatrician who said it was a viral rash and then sent him back. But Jackson continued to suffer, crying through periods of exhaustion throughout the day.

“My kid wouldn’t get up, he wouldn’t eat he wouldn’t drink, he was running a 105 degree fever,” Kayla said. “We couldn’t get him to do anything, if you touched him he screamed.”

There was no impact on another doctor visit and a round of steroids, so the Oblisks took him to Louisville’s Norton Children’s Hospital on May 27. There he was diagnosed by physicians with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a bacterial infection so uncommon that it is carried by only 1 in 20,000 tick bites. They instantly began to treat the disease with doxycycline, hoping they would have diagnosed him in time.

“I learned that you usually see death on day 8, that’s when organs start to fail. And when we got him to the hospital it was day 7,” Kayla said.

Kayla informed the Washington Post that Jackson came in and out of a coma over the next four days and did not eat, drink or speak. Because his face was so swollen, he couldn’t open his eyes.

“As a parent, that’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me,” she said.

On Thursday, Jackson woke up for the first time, and on Friday, May 31 — his birthday — he was alert enough to make eye contact with his parents.

Three days later, on Monday, June 3, Jackson was still not walking or talking, the Washington Post reported, but he was awake and is expected to be okay after more time in the hospital and at a rehabilitation center. Still, doctors do not know if he will make a full recovery. So please pray!

“Anytime you are in the woods you should be using bug spray,” Kayla urged. “Ticks come from EVERYWHERE. Just because you weren’t in the woods doesn’t mean you can’t get them.”

Kayla added that if the tick is removed without its head then people need to immediately go to the doctor. She also recommended saving the tick so doctors can do additional testing.

“As a parent, you know your child more than anybody else. You know when something is wrong,” she told the Washington Post. “I wish I had followed my gut earlier. He wouldn’t have gone through so much.”

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