Bug Bite Left 6-Year-Old With Brain Damage, Authorities Warn It’s Likely In Your Backyard Too

Updated November 18, 2017

After a tick bit a 6-year-old boy, he developed Lyme disease. His health quickly deteriorated after that and had left the child brain damaged and partially paralyzed. Now his mother is issuing a warning to all parents about the dangers of ticks. Doctors told Amy Mitchell that her son Adam would never be the same again. But just a few months ago, they were touting a different tune. They told her that her boy had a simple viral infection. Soon tests confirmed that he had gotten it from a tick bite like many others do every year.

But it was too late for doctors to act when they knew the truth. He contracted meningitis and then suffered permanent brain damage. Soon his face was paralyzed as well.

Adam now struggles to perform essential bodily functions. He has difficulty blinking and cannot swallow his food. The child also struggles to process information and suffers from incontinence problems. Because doctors did not realize that he was developing Lyme disease, they missed their opportunity to help him. Now his life is ruined.

It was difficult for doctors to know what was happening to Adam. His symptoms were different from those usually associated with a tick bite. His situation left doctors baffled as to how it had all gone so wrong.

But his mother, Amy Mitchell, is heartbroken. And now she has come forward to warn other parents and speak about the painful ordeal for the first time.

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“This year has been pretty rotten and heartbreaking. We could’ve lost Adam, and that’s the frightening thing. We want to tell his story even if just to warn other mums to keep going back to the doctor if they feel something isn’t quite right.”

Everything started going wrong when Adam changed back in April. He was no longer his vibrant self. He was like a ghost.

“He was just really lackluster,” his mother said. “He was getting off the school bus with his shoulders slumped and then coming straight home and lying on the sofa under a blanket every night. His wee brother was trying to play with him, but there was just nothing in him. It was almost like he was depressed. We phoned the school. We thought he might be getting bullied.”

After taking him to the doctor, Amy and her husband David watched Adam closely.

Days later, Adam’s school called and said that his face was drooping.

“He looked like a stroke patient,” Amy said. “He had a fever. I phoned the surgery. They said a doctor would phone back. I didn’t want to be told that it was a viral again.”

He was rushed to a specialist.

His mom remembered, “As soon as the specialist looked at Adam she said ‘Why has nobody taken bloods yet?’ I felt so guilty. I wanted to kick myself for not pushing harder to get them done.”

Adam may never recover.

“We want to make people aware of what Lyme disease can do,” Amy said. “We can’t change what’s happened to Adam, but we can help to raise awareness.”