Roman's Story: A LIFE-threatening bone infection, the will to survive, and the faith of a commUNITY

In summer of 2017, Roman Innocent was a healthy, active 10-year-old boy until an infection from a cut on his leg while playing soccer left him fighting for his LIFE.

The scrapes from falling turned into a raging infection landing Roman in the hospital from June to November 2017 fighting sepsis, fevers, and severe anemia.

Doctors tried antibiotics and surgeries to open wound areas on both of his legs. In late November 2017, Roman was discharged from the hospital, because doctors told his mother, Elmise, there was “nothing more they could do”. They told her to take Roman home because he was too sick and was going to die.

Roman didn’t die. Elmise continued to seek out help for her son in her local community. In January 2018 myLIFEspeaks received a phone call from a physician in nearby Leogane asking if he could refer a young teenager who “can’t walk and needs physical therapy” to LIFE Therapy Clinic.

On January 29, 2018 Roman and his mother arrived in Neply. Legs wrapped in bandages, Roman was lifted off the motorcycle and carried inside myLIFEspeaks’ commUNITY center. His mother followed closely behind carrying a thick file folder of papers and x-rays.

As myLIFEspeaks Public Health Liaison and Head of Physical Therapy, Rhonda Nisbett Pierre, looked through his medical charts she quickly realized there was a lot more going on than just not being able to stand or walk. Roman had multiple open wounds on his right leg, left leg, and hip. One wound on his knee was so deep that his quadricep tendon was visible. His left leg was unable to flex at the hip or knee.

Upon reading his charts and inspecting his wounds, Rhonda came to the conclusion that Roman most likely had chronic osteomyelitis or a bone infection. The infection probably occurred after his fall during soccer in which bacteria managed to enter through the cuts on his legs.

We told Roman and his mom that, unlike the hospital, we weren’t going to give up on him because God doesn’t give up on us. We told Roman that his LIFE has a purpose and God kept him alive for a reason

We gave him a walker and wheelchair and taught him how to use it, telling him to practice standing. We continued wound care, therapy for strengthening and to practice standing and walking, and arranged for Roman to consult with Dr. Alexis at Adventist Diquini: a trusted hospital who could help with chronic osteomyelitis.

His infections were still very bad and he had to have several major operations to clean out and drain the deep wounds. There were times when we didn’t know if Roman would make it or not. The infection was so bad. The odds were definitely against him. But we were hopeful and continued to pray and hope for the best.

But we knew Roman was extremely strong and resilient. The infection wouldn’t win without a hard fight.

From March 2018 through the end of the year, Roman’s wounds continued to slowly heal, with a few setbacks, and we had him in aggressive physical therapy and on a daily antibiotic regimen.

With lots of hard work, pain and tears, Roman finally gained back enough knee flexion in his left knee to be functional to walk and even ride a bike! X-rays revealed great news of new bone growth filling in on Roman’s right tibia.

On February 1st, 2019, almost exactly one year after Roman and his mom showed up at myLIFEspeaks’ community center for help, Roman’s leg is finally healed with skin coverage and he is ready to go back home! Roman and his mom move back home to reunite with their family in nearby village.

myLIFEspeaks Public Health program continues to follow Roman’s progress and assist with continued antibiotic regimen and follow up visits with Dr. Alexis.

He continues to battle pockets of infection that come up every so often, needing minor surgery to open up and clean out infection and change up antibiotics but otherwise he is doing well and it is just something he faces.

He takes two different antibiotics daily and has for the past three years to try to kill the infection and prevent it from living dormant in his body and flaring up again. We hope someday the infection in his body will be completely killed and he can be off of antibiotics but so far every time we’ve taken him off when the levels of infection are non-detectable it starts to come back so we know it’s not completely out of his system yet, even after years of antibiotics.

Roman and his mom continue to return periodically to Neply to visit friends they have made here. Today, Roman can stand, walk, and run and is back to being a normal teenager. Both he and his mother know and believe that God saved his LIFE and continues to heal him.

You can help transform LIFE and provide more success stories, like Roman's, by joining #TheTable, myLIFEspeaks monthly donor program! For as little as $5 a month or a cup of coffee, you can keep ministry moving forward in Haiti!

Members of The Table are the backbone of myLIFEspeaks, helping us continue our work today and elevate Haiti’s tomorrow. It’s not about how much you give. It’s about the heart behind it. And every dollar matters when LIFE is on the line.

It is because of support from people like you, we are able to change lives for the Kingdom daily. Precious lives like Roman's.

By joining #TheTable, you are claiming a seat among myLIFEspeaks most loyal supporters, who are committed to bringing family, education, public health and all LIFE has to offer to Haiti by giving each month.

Will you step up to the myLIFEspeaks Table with a monthly donation to help us continue to shape sustainable change in Haiti? Come to The Table. Let your LIFE speak.

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myLIFEspeaks U.S. Office

P.O. Box 100972
Nashville, TN 37224

855-541-LIFE (5433)


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