Hear DaJuan's story,
as featured on KS95 For Kids.
When DaJuan began complaining to his mother, Angela, about a painful and swollen knee, she thought her athletic son had simply gotten bumped or fallen during basketball practice. When DaJuan insisted the pain hadn't come from an injury, and as his pain worsened, Young rushed him to their local emergency room. What followed turned into a nightmare.
A Devastating Infection Threatened His Life
Emergency room doctors soon discovered that a severe Staphylococcus (Staph) infection had invaded DaJuan's knee. Highly contagious bacteria, Staph illness can range from mild to, in DaJuan's case, severe and potentially fatal. As the infection spread from DaJuan's knee throughout his leg and into his bloodstream, his condition quickly deteriorated. Soon, it became clear that specialized intervention was crucial.
"They told me his life was in danger," recalls Angela of the urgent phone call she received while at work. "They said he needed to get to Gillette right away."
Can DaJuan's Leg Be Saved?
An ambulance ride later, DaJuan was met by a team of orthopedic surgeons and infectious disease specialists at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, who immediately prepped him for surgery. Angela likens their first minutes at Gillette to arrival at the gates of heaven. "They swooped over him just like angels," she says. "I didn't realize, until that point, how close he'd come to dying."
It soon became clear that DaJuan would survive-but amputation of his leg was still a possibility. Through a series of major surgeries aimed at saving the young athlete's limb, pediatric orthopedic surgeon Deborah Quanbeck, M.D., would first clean the area and remove diseased bone, then place healing antibiotics throughout the infected tissue.
Today, He's Faster Than Ever!
Slowly, with each surgery, the infection in DaJuan's leg began to subside. After a six week stay at Gillette, he left to continue his recovery at home. He took his first steps two months later. Today, two years since contracting the mystery infection, now 10-year-old DaJuan has recovered enough to begin playing sports-and he's once again among the fastest athletes on the basketball court.
"I went from 'He might not make it' to 'He might lose his leg' to 'Look, he's walking!'" says Angela. "I can't say thank you to Gillette enough!"