Mother of child who died of brain-eating amoeba speaks out after girl is diagnosed
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - A mother is now speaking out after a girl was diagnosed with the same rare brain-eating amoeba that killed her son three years ago.
Seven-year-old Davian Briggs had also recently played at Willow Springs Water Park. His mother says this recent case could've been prevented.
Jennifer Briggs says doctors told her she would likely never see another case of this rare brain infection that killed her son. That's why she says she's surprised it's happening just three years later and coming from the same water park her son played in.
"The next morning he woke up but he would just be like, 'I don't feel good, my neck hurts'," said Briggs.
Briggs says it's hard to forget the summer of 2010 when her son, Davian, came to her after a day at Willow Springs complaining about some mild pain.
"Maybe he had a sunburn, maybe he had a stomach ache," she said.
Briggs gave Davian some medicine and sent him to bed. Only to wake up to what would be the beginning of a nightmare.
"A few hours later, he just wasn't waking up," she said.
She rushed little Davian to the hospital.
"I picked him up to put him into the car and he flung back in a seizure," she said.
Doctors at Arkansas Children's Hospital ran a blood test and a spinal tap. They soon learned they were dealing with only the fifth case of Parasitic Meningitis in Arkansas, the mortality rate a sobering 97 percent.
"You can see the look in doctor's faces you know a change from hope," she said. "You know, they didn't want to focus, they didn't want to look at me."
The boy's condition quickly worsened.
"They moved him to ICU and I asked the doctor there, 'He's going to be okay, right?' and she shook her head and she said no," said Briggs.
Davian died two weeks later on August 14th. But it's not the 3-year anniversary that's bringing back these memories for Briggs. Friday the health department confirmed a sixth case of the brain eating amoeba--its latest victim, 12-year-old Kali Hardig.
"It was like a punch in the stomach," said Briggs. "When I saw it was the same state, the same city I was like really, and then I saw the same water park."
Briggs says she wishes health officials would've monitored the water park more closely after her son's death . But now all she can do is pray for this girl still fighting for her life.
"Maybe she is one of the rare people that beats it, it can happen, it's happened before," she said. "I wish it would've been Davian."