MORTON - The Miracle Family representing Bethel Lutheran School is Andrew McLauchlan and his family – Ian, Heather, Craig, and Andrew McLauchlan. This is their story. 

Andrew weighed 7 pounds 9 ounces when he was born. He was a happy baby and a spirited toddler. Andrew had his fair share of colds and ear infections, but was generally very healthy. 

When Andrew was 19 months old, he suddenly developed high spiking fevers of 104 degrees.  “As a pediatrician, I initially didn’t think much of it, assuming it was another winter viral infection,” said Dr. Heather McLauchlan. “In the following days, however, he developed a variety of other weird symptoms: strange rashes, peeling lips, swollen glands, puffy feet, and little red dots all over his tongue.” Most notably, the high fever was relentless. Andrew’s parents, Heather and Craig, took him to see his pediatrician, Dr. Petrak, who diagnosed him with a rare condition called Kawasaki’s Disease.

“Kawasaki’s disease has nothing to do with motorcycles,” said Dr. McLauchlan. “Rather, it’s a systemic vasculitis with an unknown cause.” “Vasculitis” means inflammation of the blood vessels. In Kawasaki’s disease, the blood vessels most often affected are the coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart. If Kawasaki’s goes untreated, children can develop coronary artery aneurisms, which can cause permanent heart problems.  Andrew was immediately admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Illinois for therapy and consultation with the pediatric cardiologists. The treatment for Kawasaki’s disease is IV immune globulin therapy (IVIG) and high dose aspirin regimen. These therapies are not always available and not usually administered to children.  “Andrew was able to start therapy right away because of the experience of the Children’s Hospital’s physicians, nurses, and pharmacists in treating this rare condition.”

Partway through his treatment, Andrew had a reaction to his IVIG. “All of a sudden he was floppy, turned a little gray, and wasn’t responding appropriately,” said Dr. McLauchlan. “The fear and panic that swept over me when I heard “Peds Emergency Response Team” over the intercom followed by Andrew’s room number is like nothing else I’ve experienced. He was quickly transferred to the Pediatrics Intermediate Unit where he received fluids, steroids and Benadryl to stop the reaction. Again, I am so grateful that he was in the experienced, competent, and caring hands of the caregivers at CHOI.” 

One of the unusual things about Kawasaki’s disease is that the patient may not be aware of any heart damage until several weeks after the illness is over. After Andrew was released from the hospital, he had several echocardiograms with Dr. Hasselman at the Congenital Heart Center. “We were so happy to hear that all of the blood vessels in his heart were normal,” said Dr. McLauchlan. “Andrew’s quick diagnosis and initiation of treatment literally saved his heart.  He is now a healthy 7th grader who loves playing soccer and basketball and competing in the hurdles and triple jump for Bethel’s track team.”

“We are very grateful for the care Andrew received at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois,” said Dr. McLauchlan. “It was a scary time for our family, because no matter how much you know about pediatrics, it is very different when the sick child is your own child.”

“Prior to looking for a job as a pediatrician in Illinois and moving here from Boston, I had no idea that this level of subspecialty care was available in central Illinois,” said Dr. McLauchlan. “It really is true: children are not just tiny adults.  When kids get sick, they sometimes (often!) need therapies that are unusual, unique, and specialized.  We are so lucky to have the knowledge and expertise of CHOI right in our own back yard!”