Student Survives Infection - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Student Survives Infection

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Four Middle Tennessee children have been infected with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus in the past two years.

Three of them of them died as a result of contracting the bacteria, which often affects children and doesn't respond well to treatment.

Nathan Belew, 10, is beating the odds.

"It came from a desk at school. It just fell on me. I was carrying it and it slipped out of my hands and fell," Belew said.

And it was that one innocent accident that changed everything for Nathan and his family.

"The next day, he was complaining about his leg so his mother made him an appointment to the bone and joint doctor and we took in that day on Monday to have his leg looked at, you know," said his father Scott Belew.

"When he got out of the doctor, and his leg didn't progress getting better that Thursday, he was hollering ‘Mama, just get a chainsaw and cut my leg off,'" said Nathan's mother Tonia Jaco. "I called the doctor's office and I told him there's something else wrong with his leg."

When doctors examined and x-rayed Nathan they found spots on his lung. He was immediately sent to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

"They did surgery at 11:00 that night on Sunday and they cut a hole and actually drilled holes in his leg bone," said Scott Belew, "and they said when they did the infection, it was there."

Doctors found MRSA, which moves quickly through its victims.

Three Tennessee teenagers in the last two years have died from MRSA. Vanderbilt doctors did all they could to make sure Nathan would survive.

"They cut his leg from his knee to his hip and drilled holes in the bone and flushed it with the antibiotics, where just treating him through the veins, they was not able to get to the infection," Scott Belew said.

Doctors worked around the clock, but Nathan wasn't getting any better.

"He was getting worse and then they come in and told us Thursday that it was a possible chance that he wouldn't make it out of the hospital," Jaco said.

"I was sending out emails to everybody I had an address for, you know, and said please pray for my son. That's all we can ask," Scott Belew said.

"They said they more exploratory stuff that they could do and we said, 'well do whatever you would do to your child, don't treat our child no different,'" Jaco said. "It's either he's going to make it or he's not, you know."

But days later, Nathan's condition improved.

"Originally they said, he would have lung damage and by the time he got out, the X-rays wasn't even showing anything in his lungs," Scott Belew said.

Nathan is expected to make a full recovery and will be in the sixth grade this fall.

"When I seen your broadcast that four people in two years that had it, and there was one survivor, and that was my son," Scott Belew said.

Among the symptoms of MRSA are unexplained pimples or boils that don't seem to improve along with complaints about pain, lethargy or sudden loss of appetite.

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