Child on life support following mysterious illness recovers, returns to thank hospital staff

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Seven-year-old Ethan Wayne doesn't remember all of the doctors and nurses who helped him get well but they remember him.

"Every night we watched that movie, oh yes we did," said one of the nurses.

A year and a half ago, Ethan was a carefree kid playing outside his Port St. Lucie home.

Suddenly he came down with a high fever. Days later Ethan was in a complete vegetative state.

"I'm not the one, you're happy to see me leave, get my equipment and walk out," said Rick Capozzi a respiratory therapist.

Capozzi had to put Ethan on life support. The doctors thought maybe it was meningitis or West Nile Virus from a mosquito bite. No one knew.

"It wasn't something we were feeling too good about," said Capozzi.

But the pediatric intensive care unit at The Palm Beach Children's Hospital stayed by his side.

"It was really nice they really tried to take care of the family and the kids," said Rebecca Wayne, Ethan's mom.

Against all odds, Ethan now has regained most of his speech and motor skills. He is also back in school. He came back to the hospital Friday to say thank you.

"There's times where you just wanna find a corner and cry. It's stories like this that offset those stories," said Capozzi.

Now Ethan can get back to doing what he loves best: catching frogs, skiing, and throwing snowballs at grandpa.


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