Long Island teen visits Blythedale Children’s Hospital 1 year after near-fatal polio-like illness

Posted: Updated:

A former Blythedale Children’s Hospital patient reunited with clinicians who assisted in his recovery from a near-fatal polio-like illness.

In October 2018, 16-year-old Alec Woodruff was diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis, or “AFM,” a rare polio-like illness that partially paralyzed him. The neurologic disease left Woodruff in a wheelchair and dependent on a ventilator to breathe.

"What usually presents first of all is some sort of acute weakness in arm or leg, and that is usually preceded by some sort of viral illness," says Dr. Scott Klein, chief medical officer at Blythedale Children’s Hospital.

The teen’s mom told News 12 she felt at home when she arrived at the hospital.

"I owe every person in this building everything. They educated me. They gave me the confidence to know that I can take care of him," says Terri Woodruff.

Months later, he visited his occupational therapist in much better spirits than last year, as he is now on the road to recovery.

“He did everything we asked him and then some. He worked really hard," says Kelly Milano, Blythedale Children’s Hospital’s occupational therapist.

Woodruff dreams to get back to one of his passions, karate, and hopes to resume teaching sometime in the near future.

"Every single person that has helped me along the way has my utmost gratitude, and I appreciate them dearly,” says Woodruff.

The teen is currently continuing his physical therapy at a medical facility closer to home, on Long Island.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."