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

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

News 12 Staff

Dec 5, 2019, 7:41 PM

Updated 1,656 days ago

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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.


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