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 clea