Girl Survived Brain-Eating Parasite by What Doctors Call "God's Grace"
One day, Kali Hardig’s parents were watching her play with two friends in a water park in Arkansas. The next day, doctors sat them down after their daughter was experiencing a severe headache and nausea to tell them that their daughter had a brain-eating amoeba that must have went up through her nose. Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis is an infection where an amoeba, a single-celled parasite, settles in the brain through the olfactory nerve and feeds on brain tissue. Ninety-nine percent of the time this infection is fatal, and only two people have survived it in North America. Doctors told 12-year-old Kali’s parents that she might not make it to 48 hours.
But, this didn’t mean her doctors gave up on her. With antifungals, antibioitics, and an unapproved German drug from the CDC, they lowered her body temperature to 93 degrees and put her in an induced coma to reduce the swelling in her brain. Her brain swelling slowly stabilized after the doctors worked to keep her blood pressure from running high. For 8 weeks, young Kali had to relearn some of the most simplest tasks. And then, she became the third person to survive this infection.
Doctors aren’t sure about what helped her. That German drug was used on a 12-year-old boy with the same infection, but it didn’t work. Dr. Linam, her infectious disease specialist, had her own theory though. She said that “it was God’s grace.”