TEEN’S SU­PER VIRUS COMA

Mys­te­ri­ous bug leaves 13-year-old New­comb girl fight­ing for life

Geelong Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - EX­CLU­SIVE OLIVIA SHYING

A NEW­COMB teenager is fight­ing for life af­ter con­tract­ing a dev­as­tat­ing su­per­virus that has se­verely dam­aged her heart mus­cles and left her on life-sup­port.

She has been in an in­duced coma for 22 days.

Tay­lor Henry, 13, was en­joy­ing her sum­mer hol­i­days when she was struck down with an un­known virus.

The New­comb Se­condary Col­lege pupil started vom­it­ing con­tin­u­ously on Jan­uary 22 and was re­ferred to the Gee­long hos­pi­tal emer­gency depart­ment where doc­tors tried to sta­bilise the usu­ally fit and healthy teenager.

How­ever, her con­di­tion quickly de­te­ri­o­rated.

That night Tay­lor was trans­ferred by am­bu­lance to the Royal Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal and placed in an in­duced coma.

Doc­tors de­ter­mined a rare and un­known virus had caused sig­nif­i­cant in­flam­ma­tion and dam­age to Tay­lor’s heart mus­cles.

The bas­ket­ball player and tram­po­line lover was di­ag­nosed with se­vere my­ocardi­tis and has un­der­gone three nine­hour open-heart surg­eries to strengthen and re­pair her heart.

Her heart and lungs are not work­ing on their own and the virus is threat­en­ing other or­gans.

Aunt Judy Frischot said her niece re­mained on life-sup­port and had been on dial­y­sis to clear her kid­neys.

“The doc­tors say this is the most se­vere case (of my­ocardi­tis) they have seen,” Ms Frischot said.

“She has had (three) open­heart surg­eries and they in­stalled a ven­tric­u­lar as­sist de­vice (VAD).”

Ms Frischot said the VAD had not been work­ing ef­fec­tively at this stage, re­sult­ing in more heart surg­eries.

“The virus has made the im­mune sys­tem at­tack the heart,” Ms Frischot said.

Doc­tors are work­ing around the clock to give Tay- lor the best chance of sur­vival. If she makes it past this chal­leng­ing pe­riod a heart trans­plant is be­lieved to be Tay­lor’s best chance at liv­ing a nor­mal life.

Ms Frischot said the fam­ily was still in dis­be­lief that bright, bub­bly Tay­lor was fight­ing for her life.

“She’s an an­gel. She’s so help­ful, and su­per fit. She’s a re­ally great kid,” Ms Frischot said.

“In the hol­i­days she had a month pass to Aero­drome (tram­po­line park). She was there every day.

“She loves arts and she plays bas­ket­ball.”

Tay­lor is the sec­ond el­dest of five chil­dren and Ms Frischot said the fam­ily of seven was strug­gling.

“Her par­ents are just a mess,” Ms Frischot said. “It’s ba­si­cally just one baby step for­ward and then three back at the mo­ment. There have been times when she’s been flat­lined and doc­tors have had to shock her back to life.”

But the fam­ily is hope­ful Tay­lor’s fight­ing spirit will help her to re­cover.

Tay­lor’s class­mates, in­clud­ing best friend and cousin Amelia, have started a fundrais­ing cam­paign at New­comb Se­condary Col­lege to raise money for Tay­lor’s med­i­cal care and her par­ents at this dev­as­tat­ing time.

Year 12 stu­dent Tay­laJayne Berry-Coon, 17, is or­gan­is­ing a Team Tay­lor day for March 6.

“Tay­lor is such an amaz­ing girl ... as a com­mu­nity we are try­ing to come to­gether and wrap our arms around her,” Tayla-Jayne said.

Stu­dents will wear pur­ple, one of Tay­lor’s favourite colours, on March 6 and buy raf­fle tick­ets to sup­port the fam­ily’s cause.

A separate GoFundMe page — PrayForTay­lor has been set up by Tay­lor’s aunt Maryanne Cleasby.

New­comb teenager Tay­lor Henry.

TEAM TAY­LOR: Dad Mark Henry, mum Paula and Tay­lor’s sib­lings, Mon­tana Ri­ley, Lach­lan and Char­lie.

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