A year and a half ago America was gripped with swine flu fear. Millions clamored to get the scarce vaccine. Fortunately the predicted epidemic never happened, but swine flu still caused severe illness in a number of Americans, especially children.
One little boy defied all odds to survive a savage bout with swine flu that lasted nearly 500 days.
His name is Robert "Boo" Maddox, a 7-year-old from Alexandria, Louisiana. His body today is covered with scars from a flesh-eating fungus that attacked him all over.
It started in November 2009 at the height of the swine flu panic. Boo was 5 years old and suddenly sick for the first time in his life.
"He went to a birthday party, came home, said he didn't feel well," his mom Renee said.
Boo had contracted the dreaded swine flu virus, and just about every organ in his body shut down. His dad, Robert Maddox, could barely believe what was happening.
"The nurses were saying, 'I've never seen this many machines on a child,'" Robert said.
But Boo had a strong will to live and a loving family whose faith carried them through the endless ordeal.
"Everybody agrees it's a miracle this child is here today," said pediatric surgeon, Dr. Timothy Pettit.
The months went on and holidays had to be celebrated in the hospital but Boo never lost his sense of humor, no matter how rough things got.
Slowly, he regained his strength through various physical therapies. And last week, after nearly 500 days at New Orleans Children's Hospital, Boo had some big news: "I'm going home!"
It was a joyous reunion with his sisters, especially big sister Hayley, who had feared the worst.
"I was going to lose my only brother. I look at him now and he's walking, doing stuff we thought we'd never see again," said Hayley.
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