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A lot for one little boy to take
JUNE 13, 2011

Two-year-old Elijah Morris fought for his life and won

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

COKATO, DASSEL, MN – Mark and Brenda Morris were beginning to accept that they were going to lose their 2-year-old son Elijah as they drove to Children’s Hospital April 20.

“We were making peace with the worst and praying and hoping for the best,” Mark said, who is a 2007 Dassel-Cokato High School graduate.

In the meantime, Elijah was being airlifted from Hutchinson Community Hospital to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis with what they found was a potentially life-threatening bacterial blood infection known as Meningococcemia, a form of meningitis.

Elijah had woken up the night before with a fever that was only getting worse. He also had purple spots on skin resembling chicken pox, Mark described, adding that he was becoming more and more unresponsive.

The couple took their son to the hospital in Hutchinson where doctors found Elijah needed to be transported to Children’s Hospital.

Within 20 minutes in the air, Elijah was in shock and was later put on life support.

The couple was told that Elijah’s body was under attack and that it would be a miracle if he made it through the night. All they could do was pray at that point.

“You just hate to see your child suffer like that,” Mark said.

Elijah was experiencing symptoms known as purpura, which are large areas of bleeding that occurs under the skin, which is purple in appearance. Because of this, Elijah was being treated as a burn patient.

For the first few days, Elijah underwent surgery, including a fasciotomy to relieve the pressure and restore circulation in his hands and feet.

He was also in septic shock with life-threatening low blood pressure, among other complications.

The Morrises were contacted by the Center for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health and everyone Elijah may have been in contact with had to be treated as a preventative measure.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, Meningococcemia is caused by the bacteria neisseria meningitidis, which frequently lives in a person’s upper respiratory tract without causing visible signs of illness.

The bacteria can be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. For example, one may become infected if he or she is around someone with the condition when they sneeze or cough.

For Elijah, he carried the bacteria which happened to transfer into his bloodstream.

This condition comes with a list of complications including Gangrene, due to lack of blood supply, which Elijah developed.

As a result, his left hand fingers needed to be amputated, part of his right foot, as well as the toes on his left foot.

He remains in danger of losing both of his feet.

After almost two months of being in the hospital, “We aren’t even close to being done yet,” Mark said, adding that Elijah continues to be monitored and is sedated during dressing changes.

“He’s been through a lot,” Mark said, adding that the family would know more in the days to come as to whether or not Elijah would need to have his right and left foot amputated.

“He’s done so well,” Mark said, explaining that Elijah is already playing with his left hand despite the bandages.

“He’s in such good spirits,” Mark said. “I’m surprised at how happy and energetic he is.”

As of last Wednesday, the family’s hope is that Elijah will get to go home sometime this week.

The Morris family is also happy to announce the birth of their son, Gabriel, who was born June 5.

Mark said that the couple is looking for a new place to call home, possibly in the Dassel area and, “We are just excited to figure out what the next chapter in our lives is going to be.”

To hear more of Elijah’s story and read posts from the family, visit his CaringBridge site.

To help Elijah Morris and family

There are two benefits planned to help the Morris family with medical expenses due to Elijah’s long hospital stay and recovery.

The first is planned for Saturday, June 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Waconia at Mackenthun’s Fine Foods. There will be hamburgers, hotdogs, snacks, and beverages served.

The second is Thursday, July 28 from 2:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Park (9055 Klein Drive) in Waconia. There will be a picnic, as well as activities including inflatable jumpers for kids. T-shirts that read “Little E is still here, because of a big G” are also available by mailing Lisa Fontanna, 1844 Moccasin Dr., Waconia, MN 55387 with a list of sizes and $15 per shirt.

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