Shawnee boy survives battle with Meningitis

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SHAWNEE, Okla. - An 8-year-old Shawnee boy is out of the hospital after contracting bacterial meningitis.

Letters were sent home to parents of students at Sequoyah School back on Feb. 1 after the boy's mother rushed him to the hospital.

Meningitis is an infection of the lining of the spinal cord and brain.

It can lead to brain damage, even death.

That's exactly where doctors thought this latest case in Shawnee was headed.

Hollie Tully rushed her son, Greg Hoppers, to the St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital emergency room on Jan. 31.

"I've never been so scared in my life," said Tully.

Hoppers began the day complaining of a headache and by that evening, he was disoriented and unresponsive to people around him.

"He was fever, confused, obviously something was affecting his brain," said Dr. John Stepanek, the doctor who treated Hoppers in the emergency room.

Dr. Stepanek said he performed a spinal tap and recognized the fluid around the spine to be infected.

"He was probably one of the sickest kids I've seen in a while," he said.

Dr. Stepanek began to make plans to send Hoppers to Children's Hospital in Oklahoma City.

Within an hour, Hoppers had deteriorated to the point where doctors had to intibate him and they made the decision to fly him to Oklahoma City by helicopter because he was so critical.

"It progressed quickly and aggressively," Dr. Stepanek said.

Hoppers spent several days in intensive care while doctors worried about brain damage.

But all of the bad things that could have happened, didn't.

"I still look at him every day and thank God that he's here," Tully said.

Dr. Stepanek gets emotional when he talks about Hoppers' case and the outcome.

"The fact that he came out completely normal, I'm telling you it's, it's completely a miracle and I'm overwhelmed by the whole thing," Dr. Stepanek said.

Hoppers will be go back to school on Feb. 19 and is almost completely back to normal after his scary ordeal.

"I believe he's a miracle and I believe he has a purpose here. Not sure what it is, but I'm sure he'll figure it out," Tully said.

Dr. Stepanek says Hoppers had a case of strep and he also had pneumonia when he came into the hospital.

That's possibly where the bacteria came from that caused his meningitis.

Officials reassured parents of other students at Hoppers' school that his case of meningitis turned out to be not contagious.

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