ATOKA, Tenn. — WREG’s Jim Jaggers is well into his 333-mile bike ride across the Mid-South for Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, and a family in Atoka has the hospital to thank for saving their little boy’s life.
Luke Moore and his family know firsthand that miracles happen at Le Bonheur.
In the town of Atoka, the saying is it’s a great place to call home. Home and family are everything for Keith and Raechyl Moore and their three children: Delilah, Scarlotte and Luke.
“They love their little brother and love to play outside,” Raechyl said.
About two years ago and about six months after Luke was born, he was a typical baby boy, crawling all over the house and pulling up on things.
His parents said Luke was trying to keep up with his big sisters.
“He’s just non-stop,” Keith said. “He’s my little buddy. He’s real strong strong-spirited, sweet little guy.”
But on Sept. 4, his dad’s birthday, the sweet little guy wasn’t eating well at daycare and later had a bad ear infection.
But Luke’s condition quickly got worse.
“He stopped nursing and wouldn’t take a bottle, and he started to be lethargic,” Raechyl said.
Luke, the non-stop, active little boy, was no longer able to sit-up. He wasn’t crawling and was having trouble lifting his head.
His parents said Luke had lost his cry, and he lost his smile. They knew he needed to be taken to Le Bonheur in Memphis.
“I said, ‘I’m not sure what’s wrong with him, and it’s time to take him to Le Bonheur,'” Raechyl said.
The Le Bonheur medical team gathered and met with neurology and infectious disease specialists.
“Anytime you think ‘neuro,’ you’re like my gosh, can he come back from this? What we’re thinking, is he going to survive this?” Raechyl said.
But Raechyl also knew firsthand the odds of her son getting back to normal were much better because he was at Le Bonheur. She’s also a nurse at Le Bonheur, but this time, the patient was her baby boy.
“I’d like to consider myself an empathetic nurse,” she said. “I felt like that has always been at the front of my mind of patients and families, but having the feelings reversed was very difficult.”
When neurology specialists came to see Luke, they diagnosed him with infant botulism, causing muscle paralysis by attacking nerve receptors.
“And lead to weakness, and sometimes it’s so severe they actually end up needing a ventilator to breathe,” Dr. Cross with Le Bonheur said. “Fortunately, Luke didn’t progress that far.”
Luke had contracted it by playing in dirt, much like other kids. He was transferred to Le Bonheur’s pediatric intensive care unit.
“I was so relieved we were at Le Bonheur because I knew they knew how to handle this,” Raechyl said.
Le Bonheur would know just how handle it. Luke would need a special drug called Babybig that wasn’t in Tennessee.
It took about 18 hours for the drug to be shipped to Le Bonheur, but when the medicine arrived and was given to Luke, miracles began to happen.
“The Babybig got there and get it into him and for it to start reversing all the effects it had on him and slowly but surely, that’s exactly what it did,” Keith said.
The drug worked. Luke’s muscles got stronger, and his feeding skills returned.
“Everyday, it felt like he was doing something new again,” Keith said.
Luke’s smile also came back, and eventually, so did those small baby steps showing he was back on the road to recovery — a recovery made possible because of the family-centered care at Le Bonheur.
“It’s about the baby, and it’s always about the family,” Raechyl said.
And if you don’t believe it, Luke is now perfectly healthy, and his big sisters are trying to keep up with him.
“I am so thankful we have such a great hospital here that’s so close to us, and my wife works there,” Keith said.
The Moores are thankful because family and home mean everything to them, and they’re all back together because of Le Bonheur, an extraordinary hospital where every child matters.
“It’s a thing that once you know that’s what they do for your son, and then you know they do that for everybody else, and once its impacted you personally, you can’t do enough to give back,” Raechyl said. “I’m so grateful for Le Bonheur.”