Nine-year old Breanna Browning is paralyzed and trapped in a hospital bed — and a routine flu shot apparently is to blame.
The Texas girl’s parents believe that a reaction to an influenza vaccine administered at her school is the cause of the paralysis and blindness that is destroying the previously healthy girl’s life.
“We know in our hearts this was the flu vaccine that made her ill,” Browning’s stepfather, Johnny Alexander, told Houston’s ABC 13 News.
Browning’s mom, Brenda Faulk, agreed.
“She was perfectly healthy,” Faulk said. “No symptoms, no sickness. Eight hours [after the shot] she was profusely vomiting and again Friday morning. Saturday, she was paralyzed from the waist down, blind and seemed like she had a seizure.”
Browning was jumping and playing in the sand just a few weeks ago but is now in a bed at Texas Children’s Hospital in Galveston following the Oct. 15 shot, the TV station said.
The fourth grader can no longer walk.
“This little girl was full of life and very active,” a GoFundMe website set up for her reads. “And just to think that a simple vaccination that is required did this to her. She remains positive and brave, to be child and not understanding what has happened to her.”
Tests show that Breana contracted acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, or ADEM, a condition in which the brain and spinal cord become inflamed. ADEM can be caused by viral or bacterial infections, and also by reactions to some vaccinations, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). ADEM damages myelin, “the protective covering of nerve fibers,” according to NIH.
Breana will never completely recover from the condition, the GoFundMe page says, and her rehabilitation will take up to a year.
“There are some cases, very rare, that a flu shot has a more severe reaction and those reactions are minor in terms of the number of people who are going to get those,” Dr. Umair Shah, the executive director of Public Health and Environmental Services for Harris County, Texas, told ABC 13.
Browning’s family will need to buy an auto lift, a stair lift and a wheelchair for her. They will also need to pay medication and home healthcare.
“She’s in a place where we lean on God for her healing and to guide the doctors in the right direction,” her aunt, Yvette Ferrell, wrote on the GoFundMe page.