Kentucky Boy Slept for 11 Days Leaving Doctors Puzzled and Medical Experts Baffled
They say the ultimate remedy, the best medication, the best stress buster, or even the best meditation is a long and restful sleep. Deep sleep is the easiest escape from our physical, mental, and emotional challenges. But what if this deep and long sleep becomes your worst nightmare? One such example is Wyatt Shaw, a seven-year-old boy from Kentucky who slept a record-breaking 11 days!
Wyatt Shaw was a second-grade boy when he put the entire medical community into shock as he kept sleeping for 11 days in the Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. The root cause behind his long slumber is still a medical mystery. Want to know the story of Wyatt Shaw and how he ended up becoming a sleeping beauty? Keep reading!
Forty-eight hours before his slumber, Wyatt was the life of the party
A couple of days prior to the incident, Wyatt was partying hard at his uncle’s wedding. As the ring bearer at the celebration, he was full of life and radiating with joy. According to his grandmother, Wyatt danced all night and was the life of the party! She added that he had always been an outgoing, sweet-natured, and energetic boy.
Wyatt’s mother, Amy Thompson Shaw, described how awesome Wyatt’s performance was at the wedding. He not only stole the show but also the last dance. He even took the spotlight by taking the bride away from the groom.
It was quite clear that Wyatt was doing perfectly fine before he went into his mysterious slumber. On a Sunday night after the wedding, Wyatt went to bed for a good night’s sleep, completely unaware that he would see the morning Sun only after 11 days.
Wyatt’s mom was startled to find him unable to wake up the next morning
The next morning, when Amy Thompson Shaw, Wyatt’s mother, went to wake him up, she realized that something was severely wrong with him. Wyatt was unable to stay awake while constantly feeling lethargic. He struggled to remain alert with overpowering drowsiness. The boy also complained of headaches and stomach pain.
Everybody kept on calling his name, but no matter how hard they tried, Wyatt kept falling back to sleep again and again. Unable to comprehend Wyatt’s condition, his family got worried and rushed him to the Norton Children’s Hospital within hours.
Doctors ran several tests at the Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville.
Wyatt was kept under observation in the hospital while his brain activity was monitored. The scare kept growing as every time they tried opening his eyes, it seemed as if he wasn’t consciously there.
Doctors went ahead with several tests like MRIs, X-rays, and blood tests but soon realized that Wyatt was completely healthy. They further tested him for parasites, viruses, infections, and various types of flu, which again came out to be negative. Wyatt was also tested for a rare virus that leads to inflammation in the brain known as “encephalitis.” But once again, the seven-year-old boy’s test came out all clear. During all this while, Wyatt was still sleeping.
The medical experts left no stone unturned in finding the root cause of the problem. According to Dr. Michael Sweeney from Norton Children’s Hospital, it was a million-dollar work-up that went into Wyatt’s mysterious slumber. She stated that it was a big investment by all of them as they really had to get to the bottom of what was going on and try to make him better.
The boy finally woke up after 11 days.
Wyatt had an upper respiratory infection a week before his slumber, which made doctors suspect that the boy might be having seizures. A seizure is a condition in which the brain’s electrical activity goes haywire, leading to abnormalities in muscle movements, behaviors, sensations, and more. They, therefore, tried a seizure medication, and that’s when Wyatt finally woke up.
Wyatt’s mother said that he was having electric misfires in his brain, and it was just causing him to stay in constant sleep. The seizure medicine worked by targeting the neurotransmitters in the brain and stopping them from firing off signals to other receptors. After 11 days of sleep, Wyatt woke up but with restricted mobility and difficulty in swallowing as well as speaking. For the initial couple of days, Wyatt only communicated using sign language with his family. It was all a result of sleeping for so long.
After his discharge from the hospital, Wyatt spent three weeks in a rehab institute. According to the doctors, he needed months of therapy to relearn how to walk and talk. With the help of his mother and the doctors, Wyatt gradually regained control of all his abilities.
Wyatt’s 11-day slumber became a medical mystery.
Although the seizure medication worked on Wyatt, it was quite unclear if the boy was actually having seizures, as all scans showed normal brain activity. According to doctors, Wyatt’s symptoms were likely related to Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS), a disorder that causes one to sleep for around 12-24 hours a day. Scientists believe this syndrome is caused by a disruption in the hypothalamus and thalamus in the brain. The hypothalamus is a brain structure that controls our sleep patterns and arousal sensations. A dysfunctional hypothalamus leads to abnormal sleep patterns.
The puzzle here is that Wyatt was never diagnosed with KLS, yet his symptoms mirrored the KLS condition. So what happened to Wyatt and why the Kentucky boy slept for 11 days straight still remains an unexplained medical mystery. Doctors cannot guarantee that he won’t undergo another dangerous slumber in the future. However, they kept Wyatt on seizure medication even after his discharge. Since Wyatt showed recovery, his family decided to move on and allowed him to dive back into life.
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