Wisconsin Boy Nearly Dies From 'Mystery' Disease

Published: Dec. 15, 2015 at 6:12 AM CST
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A two-year-old Louisburg, Wisconsin boy is recovering at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics after nearly dying from a disease doctors called a “mystery”.

Liam Young has gone through more medical treatments than some do their entire lives and still has more to go. Chris Young, Liam’s father, is constantly amazed by his son’s positive attitude throughout what’s become a nearly two month ordeal.

"If I had half the strength of him,” Chris said, “I'd be the second strongest man in the world that I knew."

In late October, Liam came down with symptoms a lot like the flu, fever and nausea. Things seemed to get better for a moment, but by the weekend Liam was still weak. His parents took him to a Dubuque hospital.

"The doctor, he just came in the room,” Chris said. “He looked at Liam and looked at me and he was like, 'I already called the helicopter. They're on their way. He's critically ill.'"

Once Liam arrived at UIHC, things got worse. He coded and had to be resuscitated. After, Liam's heart wasn't pumping enough oxygenated blood to the rest of his body. His liver, kidneys and more were shutting down. Liam's skin developed bruises and blisters. His fingers and toes started turning black, many had to be amputated.

Doctors were unsure of the cause.

"Looking back at the charts and talking to our colleagues in pediatrics, it's still a mystery,” said Dr. Thomas Granchi, Liam’s attending physician at UIHC. “Sometimes you start treatment without a diagnosis."

The treatment involved blood transfusions, dialysis, a bunch of antibiotics and more. Meanwhile, the bills have piled up. Insurance only goes so far.

"It's unknown right now what [the cost] is going to be,” said Chris. “But, I look at the kid and it's worth every penny of it."

To help, a relative setup a GoFundMe webpage, which at last check has raised near $7,000 for hospital bills. Those who want to help can


Doctors believe Liam is over the worst of it, saying he's in recovery.

In the end, they think it was an infection that got out of hand, perhaps after a small cut came across some common bacteria.

"We carry [bacteria] on our skin and in our GI tract,” said Dr. Granchi. “Sometimes they just get out of control."

The goal is to get Liam home for Christmas. Chris said that would make him very happy. He said, this year, his gift was strength from his son.

“Every night before we go to bed,” said Chris. “I tell Liam, when I grow up I just want to be as strong as what you are."