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WKU student celebrating two year anniversary of recovering from rare illness

Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 11:22 PM EST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Grant Oller is a freshman at WKU from Owensboro, Ky. Two years ago, he suffered from a rare illness called Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, or ARDS. ARDS causes a buildup of fluid in the lungs which can make it harder for other organs to get oxygen.

Oller said one day he came down with a slight cough and next thing he knew he was in the hospital.

“I was on ECMO for 31 days. I was in a medically induced coma that whole time,” Oller explained.

Oller woke up from the medically induced coma on November 1, 2018.

“I woke up on November 1 still not really aware, still on a ton of medication, sedation stuff. So the first week or two was really fuzzy,” Oller said.

Oller’s doctor, Dr. Scott Bickel with Norton Children’s Pulmonology, said they think the antibiotic Bactrim caused the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, but this is a very rare occurrence.

“It’s extraordinarily rare, this is a commonly used antibiotic, and I think it is important to understand that,” Dr. Bickel said. “This antibiotic has also been linked with other rare but severe drug reactions. It is important for people to know that this is out there, but again, extraordinarily rare.”

Now approaching the two year anniversary of his recovery, Oller continues to speak out about his recovery. He said he wants to give all of the medical professionals at Norton Hospital the thanks that they deserve.

“They gave me a sense of community when I sort of felt like I didn’t have one,” Oller said.

Oller also works with Dance Big Red at WKU, to help raise money for Norton’s.

“It’s a great event that helps raise money for Norton’s Children’s, and for them to do the awesome work that they do,” Oller said.

While at WKU, Olier is studying biology with the hopes of going into the medical field. He said his experience fighting off ARDS lead him to want to help others that might face a similar problem.

“I thought of how medical professionals and doctors at Norton’s help so many people day in and day out and I thought a career path like that would just be so satisfying,” Oller explained.

For more information on how you can get involved with or donate to Dance Big Red you can click here.

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