Englewood teen honored by Ohio lawmakers

Ethan Conley on the floor of the Ohio House with Representatives Mike Henne (left) and Jeff Rezabek in recognition of being selected as the 2015 Children’s Miracle Champion for Ohio.

COLUMBUS — Ethan Conley was recognized on the floor of the Ohio House by Representatives Jeff Rezabek and Mike Henne for being selected as the 2015 Children’s Miracle Champion for Ohio.

Representative Rezabek shared Ethan’s story and presented him a resolution from the Ohio House, recognizing his honor. Ethan spoke about his faith and asked for the continued support of children’s hospitals. His speech was met with a standing ovation from the chamber. Then he was recognized in the Ohio Senate Chamber by Senators Bill Beagle and Peggy Lehner. Dayton Children’s President and CEO Debbie Feldman and Dayton Children’s Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Mike Shane were on hand to witness the recognition.

Ethan and his family just returned from a trip to Washington, DC, where he met with U.S. senators and representatives as the 2015 Children’s Miracle Champion for Ohio. He along with the champions from other states shared how they owe their lives to children’s hospitals. Ethan survived an extremely rare virus. It was the only time doctors and nurses at Dayton Children’s have seen this virus, and to this day, it’s the worst case documented anywhere in the world. “Ethan is a miracle child and survived what no person in the world has ever survived,” says mom, Rebecca.

“We consider ourselves blessed to advocate on behalf of all the children and their families whose lives have been forever changed and touched by Dayton Children’s and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” says Javan Conley, Ethan’s dad. “Their efforts are the reason our son Ethan is still alive. Not a day goes by that we don’t take the time to thank God for His grace and mercy and all the wonderful doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers that played a part in our miracle.”

Ethan’s story

In 2010, Ethan was diagnosed with viral myositis with rhabdomyolysis after his parents brought him screaming in pain to the Soin Pediatric Trauma and Emergency Center at Dayton Children’s. His legs were swollen to twice their normal size and he was in agony. The damage the virus was doing to his muscles was flooding his bloodstream with the enzyme CPK, which was overloading his kidneys. His organs began to shut down.

Vipul Patel, MD, the medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit, called colleagues around the country to collaborate on Ethan’s case. “The virus led to septic shock, which means he was being poisoned from the inside out,” says Dr. Patel. “There’s typically a 50 percent chance of survival, but as each additional organ fails, the odds of death increase by 10 percent.”

Ethan’s chances hovered at around 20 percent. He was placed on advanced life support: a respirator to breathe, dialysis for his failing kidneys and medication to stabilize his blood pressure and heart rate.

Ethan’s family, his doctors and nurses never gave up on him. “We prayed non-stop and knew Ethan surviving was in God’s hands and we trusted His plan,” Javan shared. Finally, after weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit, the treatments were successful and Ethan began to recover. “Ethan is a miracle child and his doctors and nurses are miracle workers. Ethan’s doctors and nurses sacrificed time with their own families to care for Ethan; they cared for Ethan like he was their own child.”

This won’t be the first time Ethan’s story thrust him into the national spotlight. His story was featured on an episode of Animal Planet’s “Monsters Inside Me” in 2012. The show depicts what happens when human beings fall prey to parasites.