An Illinois 3-year-old is on her mind after she was rushed to the hospital by her parents when she experienced seven-minute seizures and lost her ability to speak in full sentences. 1
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"Within hours of getting to Lurie, her speech started to decline," Erin Smolinski, Grace's mother, told SWNS. “She was a very vocal child and was capable of counting full stories, using full sentences. She goes from being able to say only. She has been singing all the songs from the movie Moana – to be able to say 'Moana.' ”
Smolinski said her daughter's condition continued to worsen, and she started experiencing fearful fits and tantrums.
"She seemed to think there was someone else in the room and she seemed scared of that person , ”Smolinski told SWNS. “It was terrifying. I wondered what she was seeing. The nurses were likely to have hallucinations. At one point she went into cardiac arrest and landed in the ICU, where she had another massive seizure.
"I just broke down as I watched what felt like 20 people work on here," she told SWNS. "She was intubated and it was an image I will never forget."
Autoimmune encephalitis is a group of conditions that occur when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy brain cells, leading to inflammation of the brain, according to the Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center (GARD). Patients may experience neurologic or psychiatric symptoms, including seizures, psychosis, speech issues, panic attacks, fear and others. Treatment may involve intravenous immunosuppressive therapy
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Two weeks later, Grace was able to return home to her parents and two siblings, and was on a monthly dose of a chemotherapy drug to prevent relapse, SWNS reported. While she needed help with balance and speech at home, she has returned to preschool, and her mom says they have noticed any cognitive issues.
"We feel lucky every day," she told SWNS.