Phenix City family calls baby's recovery from rare disease 'nothing short of a miracle'

PHENIX CITY, Ala. -- A Phenix City couple is grateful, nearly five weeks after almost losing their baby girl to a rare form of a potentially deadly disease.

Ellie Cotton contracted bacterial meningitis more than one month ago after swimming in a saltwater pool. She went to Midtown Medical Center. Doctors there decided to airlift the baby to a hospital in Birmingham.

"What happened is something I wouldn't wish even on my worst enemy's child," Ellie's father Cameron Cotton said. "Because it's nothing like seeing your baby in the hospital having a seizure, and there's nothing you can do but sit there and cry while the doctors are doing everything trying to stop it."

Ellie caught Type-A bacterial meningitis. Babies are typically vaccinated for Type-B bacterial meningitis. But almost five weeks after baby Ellie landed in a hospital bed, a miraculous twist took Ellie's family by surprise. Now, Ellie is back home in Phenix City, bouncing and babbling like any other baby. The family says they still expect a long road to recovery. While in the hospital, Ellie suffered brief blindness and temporary hearing loss. Now, she just has 3% hearing loss in one of her ears. She must remain medicated for the next six months to a year.

"From the time that she was sick until now, it's a whole different baby, like completely different," Ellie's mom Kristen Meeks said.

After seeing specialist after specialist, taking hospital visit after hospital visit, Ellie's parents are just happy to have her back home, and some sense of normalcy returned to their lives.

"Just to know that she's okay, there's nothing wrong...that's a miracle and a blessing in and of itself," Cameron Cotton said.


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