Central teen off vent & walking after a rare bacterial infection from a beach trip

“You never think things like this could happen or happen to you, and because it’s such a rare bacterial infection, the doctors here are even telling the nurses this is a career changer. You’ll never see something like this again.”

CENTRAL — After a 13-yr-old boy from Central was given a 50% chance of living, he is now taking his first steps and breathing on his own after he was diagnosed with a rare bacterial infection from a beach trip.

Madden Brown, 13, contracted a rare bacteria called Chromobacterium violaceum while in Santa Rosa, Florida according to his grandmother Orshelle Roberts. Since his hospitalization, the family said the Mayo Clinic has now verified the young teen did contract the rare bacteria. Brown was on vacation with his dad, step-mom and family for what was supposed to be a beach trip before school started.

According to the National Library of Medicine, “Chromobacterium violaceum is a common environmental bacteria that rarely causes disease in humans but has a high fatality rate if it does.”

“He evidently contracted the rare bacteria that’s mostly in stagnant and brackish water,” said Roberts. “There have only been 150 cases worldwide. They think he contracted it because his immune system was compromised, but we don’t know that. The infectious disease doctor stated that out of approximately 150 cases, only 23 are children. There is not much out there to help guide them. They asked for permission to write a case study on Madden.”

rare bacterial infection Madden Brown

Madden’s maternal grandmother Melissa Padgett said the family went to Florida during the last weekend in July. On Saturday, July 29, Madden started having diarrhea and had an upset stomach Sunday. Monday, when they returned from Florida, Roberts said her grandson was running a fever of 103.8.

“He spent the night in the hospital. They thought he was dehydrated because his sodium levels had dropped so far. They got him re-hydrated. He tested for strep as well. He went home Tuesday and then Wednesday morning, he was worse,” said Padgett. “He got to where he could hardly walk. His joints were hurting, and from that point forward, it’s been a downward spiral. His liver has been compromised with abscess, and his spleen and lungs have abscesses. He has an infection in the knee.”

Roberts said her grandson underwent successful surgery on August 8th.

“They washed out the knee and the hand/knuckle,” she said. “They had to leave packing in the hand and a drainage in the knee for a few days. They are trying to lower his ventilator settings. His lungs are terrible, according to the doctor, but they say sometimes your lungs can function independently even when bad.”

Madden was in the ICU while he was on the vent. Since then, he is now breathing on his own, allowed to eat regular food (Wendy’s nuggets were his go-to), and started taking his first steps thanks to physical therapy.

“All we can say is WOW! This kid has surpassed everyone’s expectations and his nurses and doctors that has treated him when he was at his sickest are all coming back to see him and his progress,” said the family.

The family tells UWK that on Aug. 10th, Madden finally sat up on the side of his bed for nearly 15 minutes. That was a huge miracle given that the rare bacterial infection only have a survival rate of 50%.

The next day, he was taken off the vent and spoke for the first time in a week.

On Aug. 12th, he was able to drink liquids for the first time in 11 days. His mother said she showed her son all the prayers pouring in on social media for his speedy recovery.

“He had happy tears and said, ‘I didn’t know that many people cared about me’,” they said.  

The family added they’re beyond thankful for the prayers for Madden and truly believe those prayers are working! Padgett said she and her family are so thankful to the community coming together, especially for the prayer vigil held on Aug. 7th at Central Private for Madden.

“Prayers are working and so appreciated. The love and support among with all the prayers and food brought to us has been so overwhelmingly kind. We can’t thank you enough. Please continue to pray for Madden so we can get all the infection and abscesses cleared up,.” said the family. 

“He truly is a fighter. His mom wants the story out there because you never think things like this could happen or happen to you, and because it’s such a rare bacterial infection, the doctors here are even telling the nurses this is a career changer. You’ll never see something like this again. One of the doctors is talking about the AMA article he will write on,” said Roberts.

Anyone wanting to help Madden can make donations to his mom’s venmo or cashapp.

  • Venmo: @Courtnie-Morden
  • CashApp: $CourtnieMorden

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