15-Year-Old Who Suffered from Near-Fatal Toxic Shock Syndrome Is Now Walking and Talking Again: 'It's Really Amazing,' Says Her Father
Rylie Whitten is well on her way to a full recovery after suffering from a severe case of toxic shock syndrome.
“She’s been amazing,” her father Nate Whitten tells PEOPLE. “Within the last three days she’s been walking around. It’s just blowing people’s minds how fast she’s recovered.”
Riley, 15, was unconscious for about 13 days after her organs began shutting down, but miraculously, she was able to stand only two days after leaving the ICU.
Rylie tells PEOPLE that she feels “good,” and says the whole ordeal has been “a big shock.”
“She’s still a little wobbly because she didn’t use any muscles for almost three weeks, but she’s stood up without someone holding her,” says her dad, Nate, 37. “That usually doesn’t happen in this situation for a long time. She’s not out running a marathon, but she’s able to get up. It’s really amazing.”
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The extremely rare disease can cause organ damage, shock and even death in 50 percent of cases. Toxic shock syndrome occurs in only 1 out of every 100,000 people, and is caused by complications of a bacterial infection. Symptoms include sudden high fever, low blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, confusion, muscle aches, redness of the eyes, mouth and throat, seizures and headaches.
The Michigan teen is expected to leave the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital “any day now,” but will have to undergo outpatient rehab, outpatient speech therapy and outpatient occupational therapy after she is released.
She is currently suffering from a tranquilized vocal cord due to damage caused by her ventilator, but she is able to whisper and “mentally is 100 percent with us,” says Nate.
Rylie describes toxic shock syndrome as “scary,” and hopes her story will inspire others to educate themselves to look for warning signs.