Harry “Gus” Shumow is a spirited and kind-hearted 6-year old who has been courageously fighting for his life since August 22, 2017.
Gus and his family are surrounded by love and support, and we want to expand the blessings being sent their way. First and foremost, we hope his story touches you enough to send your prayers and thoughts of positivity. Knowing that so many are holding Gus in the light is comforting to Gus’ family. If you feel moved to support this beautiful family further, a donation of any amount to be used toward Gus’ medical bills would be received with the sincerest appreciation. His parents have been on extended leave from work to be by his side, and your generosity will help reduce the financial burden that lies ahead.
Here’s the story of Gus’ battle:
On August 20, Gus complained of fever and tummy pain, but his family figured it was just a passing bug and didn't think much of it. When his fever elevated the next day, they took him to his pediatrician, who confirmed that he seemed to be getting over something – a cold or possibly the flu – and prescribed a course of treatment.
Gus spent the rest of the day resting, and he seemed to be on the mend. But then later that night his fever spiked, he got the chills, began to have diarrhea and some vomiting, and for a brief time, became incoherent and had some muscle spasms. The fever soon broke, he was breathing normally, and after a few hours he appeared to be feeling better. The next morning, Gus' diarrhea suddenly become uncontrollable and he was once again incoherent. His mom rushed him to Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospital.
At the hospital, Gus was totally unresponsive and the doctors worked hard to diagnose what was going on. After several hours, they realized that he was suffering from acute liver failure, and that he needed to be transported to Holtz Children's Hospital at Jackson Memorial in Miami, one of the best pediatric hospitals in the country. Over the next day, they confirmed that his liver had been badly damaged and his kidneys compromised. After extensive testing to find out what caused all of this, it appears to be tied to influenza A.
Neurologists also ordered a CT scan, followed by an MRI, which revealed that Gus had suffered a series of strokes in several parts of his brain, along with some swelling – mostly likely related to the liver and kidney trauma, and the lack of blood and oxygen that were getting to his brain when the illness was most intense. In other words, when the liver function failed so quickly, his body sent more blood there to try to fix it and was unable to get enough oxygen to his brain. To put the rarity of this in context, Gus’ pediatrician said that in her 20+ years of pediatrics she never had this happen to a patient, and one of Gus’ Pediatric Intensive Care Unit nurses said that in her 11 years in the PICU this was maybe the 20th case she'd ever seen.
In the days that followed his admission, Gus’ liver recovered nearly 100% while his kidney’s continued to fail. He went through six days of dialysis, to which he responded very well. Gus began to show signs of improvement – having periods of wakefulness, reacting to favorite movies and books, and limited movements.
Then, on September 8, Gus’ condition took an unexpected turn when his hemoglobin levels dropped significantly and he went in to cardiac arrest. With his dad and grandmother by his side, his medical team worked determinedly to resuscitate him.
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