Boy Recovers From Fatal Disease
By Amy Reid
The 700 Club
When two-year-old Mason Ikirt caught a cold from his sister, his parents, Debbie and Steve, weren’t too concerned. But when his fever spiked to 106 and he began having convulsions, they rushed him to the emergency room.
“We had never experienced anything like that before,” Debbie tells The 700 Club. "They explained to us that this was fairly common. That when a temperature goes from 98 to 106, a child can go into what they call a febrile seizure, and they sent him home."
The next day, Debbie and Steve followed up with Mason’s pediatrician.
“They sent him down for x-rays to get some fluid because he was dehydrated and discovered that he had extensive pneumonia on the right side of his chest.”
His parents were told once again not to worry, and Mason was put on antibiotics. A few days later Debbie says, “Mason started turning really pale. We couldn’t get anything down him.”
Steve says, “He got more and more lethargic. He wasn’t moving around. He wasn’t playing.”
They took him back to the hospital. Blood work showed Mason’s platelet count was less than one tenth what it should be. Dr. Michael Vish was on-call at the time. He says, “The pneumonia wasn’t in and of itself the thing that was worrying me the most. He had a few other subtle abnormalities in his labs that were telling me that he was developing a kidney problem.”
It was a condition that can follow pneumonia sometimes, and it’s called the hemolytic uremic syndrome. It feeds on platelets and destroys the red blood cells. There is no cure and no treatment.
Steve recalls, “I asked Dr. Vish again, ‘What are we talking about here?’ He said, ‘Your child is very, very sick. Dying sick.’”
By the next morning, Mason’s platelet count had dropped even more. His kidneys failed, and the disease was spreading to the rest of his body.
“They were setting him up to give him a transfusion to stay ahead of this disease,” says Steve, “and to then purify his blood with dialysis, so that other organs wouldn’t fail.”
Mason had a severe lung infection, but until his platelet count rose, the surgery to remove the infection was too risky. If they operated too soon, Mason could bleed to death. All anyone could do was wait and pray. Three days later, Mason was stable enough to go into the operating room.
Debbie says, “About 3 1/2 hours later, the surgeon called and told us that everything looked fine.”
Suddenly, everything wasn’t fine.
Debbie continues, “I heard over the loudspeaker, ‘Any available surgeon to the OR stat!’ I asked the nurse, ‘Do you think that’s for Mason?’ And she said, ‘I don’t think so, but I’ll check.’ About five minutes she didn’t come back. I knew something was desperately wrong.”
Steve says, “We were praying together and holding each other. His primary internist walked in and took a knee in front of us. When he took that knee, my heart just dropped to the most bottom part of my body.”
“He told us it was worse than he thought,” Debbie says, “that Mason bled out and his heart stopped.”
Mason’s heart didn’t beat for 18 minutes. After he was moved to recovery, Steve talked to the surgeon. He said, “I could see he was choked up, and I said, ‘So what happened?’ He said, ‘I had to manually reach in his chest and pump that heart to keep the blood in his heart.’”
Later that afternoon, Steve discussed the situation with his brother.
“I asked him directly, ‘Do you think that Mason’s gonna die?’ He said, ‘If Jesus wanted this boy, he would’ve been taken. This is a divine situation. If you can’t see that, then you are just blind here. It’s way, way bigger than you and I. Your planning is worthless here. What you need to do is fight with this boy. We need to pray and focus on him, because Jesus Christ hasn’t given up on him.’ I walked into the chapel that night, and I said the Lord’s Prayer. I said, ‘If You want this child, he’s Yours. He was Your lamb before You gave him to us. If You have to take him, then take him, because I can’t manage it anymore.’”
Debbie was also looking to God. She says, “When his heart stopped, it seemed like no matter how I prayed, He wasn’t hearing me. Not until he came out of the recovery room and was on a vent did I hand Mason over to God and said, ‘I don’t know what else to do. If You want him, take him. He’s Your son and let Your will be done.’”
Although Debbie's and Steve’s spiritual outlook had changed, Mason’s condition had not.
Dr. Stephen Keller says, “He actually had multi-organ system failure. When you put all of that together, he certainly had a less than 20 percent chance of surviving based on the medical knowledge that we have.”
Mason’s dismal medical prognosis intimidated everyone except his four-year-old sister, Brooke. She recalls, “My grandma was sitting at the table, and she was worried if he would die. Then I said, ‘It’s okay, John 14:14 will help you. Ask anything in His name and it shall be done.’”
Three days later… “Mason started urinating, which meant his kidneys started working,” says Debbie. “On the fifth day they took him off the vent, and Mason started an encephalopathic cry, which is an uncontrollable, inconsolable cry. They took him down for an MRI and discovered he had 12 strokes.”
The strokes affected the parts of Mason’s brain that control mobility and sight. Doctors warned the Ikirts that he might never walk or see again.
“We believed in nothing but Mason’s 100 percent recovery and healing,” says Debbie. “So we said, ‘Okay, whatever it is, it is and we’ll take him.’”
After nine weeks in intensive care Mason was transferred to a children’s rehab center. Still blind and unable to move or speak, Mason had to be cared for like an infant. He made amazing progress and totally regained his sight. After just three months of rehab, Mason went home. Today, he is a thriving pre-schooler.
Dr. Vish recalls seeing him for the first time after his ordeal. He says, “I didn’t recognize Mason. I didn’t see a sick kid. I saw a happy, well child. I had to look at him hard and think, wow, this is the kid who went through kidney failure, respiratory failure, CPR -- who quite frankly I really didn’t think was going to recover.”
Dr. Robert Fildes concurs, “It's nothing short of a miracle."
“God can move mountains,” Debbie says. “We’ve got proof that that’s absolutely true.”
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