Marshfield Children’s Hospital helps girl battling auto-immune disease

Children's Miracle Network Miracle Kid Briley Erdmann
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 5:15 PM CST
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Marshfield, Wis. (WSAW) - Every year, resilient children from northern and central Wisconsin beat the odds at Marshfield Children’s Hospital. The hospital is one of just three Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in the state.

That’s where CMN Hospital’s miracle kid Briley Erdmann fought off a serious auto-immune disease with the help of the Marshfield Clinic’s care.

“It’s amazing to see what a child can go through and overcome compared to some,” said Christy Erdmann, Briley’s mother.

12-year-old Briley was just like any other kid her age who enjoyed being active, social, and adventurous.

“Briley’s my little hunter-fisherman,” said Rick Erdmann II, Briley’s father.

“Her biggest things are hanging out with her friends, playing sports, swimming,” said Christy.

Until one day, when Briley wasn’t feeling like her usual energic self.

“When she came downstairs, she was complaining that her legs were very heavy like they were sleeping, and you could visually see her eyes were crossing,” said Briley’s mom.

“All I remember was complaining about my eyes, the double vision,” said Briley Erdmann.

The next day, Briley’s symptoms got worse.

“And then the next morning when my legs stopped working and they’re really heavy. I got really scared,” said Briley.

That’s when Briley’s parents knew she had to be seen by a doctor.

“She couldn’t control her body. She’s in a lot of pain and couldn’t swallow,” said Briley’s mother. “I took her to the Rhinelander ER, they ran a bunch of tests. Wasn’t quite sure what was going on,” said Christy.

The symptoms only got progressively worse from there.

“The next day she couldn’t walk at all,” said Briley’s mother. “She had gotten really bad, so we called neurology and they told us to come straight down to Marshfield.”

The doctors at the Marshfield Clinic ran some tests to see what was causing parts of Briley’s body to become temporarily disabled. That’s when doctors gave Briley and her parents the news.

“They said an autoimmune disease and they were thinking Guillain-Barre,” said Briley’s mother.

They didn’t know it then, but Briley would be in the hospital 46 days and 45 nights.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a condition in which the immune system attacks the nerves. The condition can be triggered by a bacterial or viral infection.

“We went from a perfectly normal child running and playing to all of a sudden she had no control over stuff,” said Briley’s mother. “I did feel really helpless like I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t fix her. I couldn’t help her.”

Doctors told the family there was only so much they could do.

“I guess that was the hardest part, that no matter what they did, they said it had to take its course,” said Briley’s mother.

Weeks later, with the help of the doctors at the Marshfield Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, they were able to get Briley back on her feet.

“It seems like once she started getting better, it progressively kept getting better,” said Briley’s mother.

“She was in bed for like 26 days before she actually stood upright. After she got upright, it went from a wheelchair to a walker, to a walking stick to walking without nothing,” said Briley’s father.

Briley’s family said with help from the Marshfield Children’s Hospital, Briley’s future looks bright.

“Having the experts around was nice. It is a couple of hour drive for us but it is worth it when you get the expert care we got there,” said Briley’s father. “Experts in their field and you can’t ask for anything better for your child.”

Briley was able to dribble her basketball out of the hospital once her symptoms went away.