On Dec. 29, 2013, Kuna High School student and left tackle for the football team, Elijah Minnick, went from being a healthy teenager to having a strep infection that ultimately brought him to the brink of death. That first infection expanded to life-threatening conditions including influenza, pneumonia, respiratory stress disorder, renal failure, and scarlet fever. Elijah spent nearly two weeks in a coma.
On Jan. 15, 2014, with the help of several physical therapists, Elijah was the first St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital patient to walk while still on a ventilator. This is a new physical therapy procedure that had previously been implemented only in the adult intensive care unit. Elijah's mother, Karen, said she was moved by the compassion of the staff taking care of her son and their family.
“It’s a very risky place to be for them to be, emotionally,” she said. “They put themselves out there and love the kids even when they are not sure if they are going to survive. To love kids that you could lose and to identify with the families that are going through it, I mean, how heroic is that?”
Through it all, the family never lost faith in the physicians and caregivers at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital who were determined to save Elijah. “It was a beautiful demonstration. We felt privileged and honored to be part of the St. Luke’s family. We wanted to say thank you and make sure they know that we noticed,” Karen said.
Elijah never gave up, and he knows he could not have pulled through without their support and dedication. “The way they cared for me and my family means the world to me. I can’t thank the PICU staff enough,” Elijah said.