July 9, 2016
A 9-year-old girl from Tampa, Florida went in for a flu shot one day, just as millions of Americans do every year, not knowing that her life would be forever changed because of it.
The girl, Marysue Grivna, was an active 9-year-old that loved to play outside, help out in the kitchen, and could speak two languages.
Just six days after she went in for a flu shot, Marysue succumbed to a rare autoimmune disorder brought on by the shot in which the body attacks itself by targeting protective covers around nerve fibers. When the coverings are destroyed, it leaves the brain and spinal cord vulnerable to damage, sometimes leading to loss of vision and paralysis.
This is exactly what happened to Marysue just days after receiving the vaccine. She experienced paralysis one morning and was not able to speak or get out of bed, despite being fully conscious with her eyes open.
Her mother said this about that fateful morning:
“The look on her face was like ‘Help me,’ like she was scared but she couldn’t respond to me,” Carla recalled.
By the time she reached the ICU at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Marysue had already experienced two seizures.
She spent the next three months hospitalized and underwent several tests to determine what the cause of her illness was. The doctors sent samples of her blood and urine to the Center for Disease Control and infectious disease specialists ran tests as well. All involved essentially told Marysue’s parents to say goodbye to their only child.