A 7-year-old boy with cerebral palsy is being called a hero after he saved his family from carbon monoxide poisoning. The boy, Michael Martinez, has had cerebral palsy since birth. He relies on a wheelchair to move around. But that didn’t stop him from alerting his parents to an alarm he heard going off in another part of the house.
According to reports, The Martinez family was asleep in their Atascocita, Texas home when Michael heard a beeping sound. Unable to walk, Michael crawled to his parents’ bedroom to alert them of the noise. His mother was experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, but she and all six other family members were able to get out of the house before suffering serious illness.
It turned out to be the carbon monoxide alarm. Michael said he was shaking throughout the ordeal and was scared. Now, he is being hailed as a hero. His mother says he is “our little hero”.
Because of Michael’s waking them up, the family was able to get out of the house. Later, it was determined that the carbon monoxide was coming from the family’s stove. Had Michael not crawled to his parents’ bedroom, the entire Martinez family may have died.
Michael’s actions are a testament to the fact that people with cerebral palsy can overcome their limitations and do great things. Michael’s mother says that he wishes he could run and play with the other kids at school. He doesn’t want to be in a wheelchair. While, for now, he continues to rely on the wheelchair, Michael knows that he can do incredible things.
The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year, more than 20,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for carbon monoxide poisoning. More than 4,000 of those people require hospitalization, and more than 400 die.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless and tasteless gas that is deadly. It is emitted in exhaust from vehicles, stoves, grills, fireplaces and furnaces. Over time, carbon monoxide can build up in indoor spaces, which can be dangerous to people and animals inside.
People who are exposed to carbon monoxide may experience symptoms like:
- Upset stomach
- Chest pain
Some people refer to their symptoms as being “flu-like”. People who are asleep or intoxicated are particularly vulnerable to the gas, and may pass out or even die due to exposure. People with chronic diseases or heart conditions are also more likely to get sick from carbon monoxide exposure.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that causes motor deficiencies. It is caused by brain damage, often during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Children who have cerebral palsy may experience spastic movements, inability to control their muscles and paralysis. Sometimes children also experience developmental and cognitive delays.
Every person with cerebral palsy experiences different symptoms depending on the type of the disorder that they have. The types of cerebral palsy are broken down in categories:
- Spastic: Causes stiff and rigid muscle tone. These symptoms may appear on one or both sides of the body.
- Dyskinetic: Causes involuntary movements, abnormal postures and poor muscle tone. Can also cause twitching, excessive drooling and a “rag doll” appearance in the limbs.
- Ataxic: Affects only fine motor skills. Causes difficulties performing basic tasks like tying shoes or buttoning clothing. It may also cause problems with balance and speech.
- Mixed: Occurs when there is damage to different parts of the brain. Symptoms may include those of one or more types.
Cerebral palsy is a condition that can affect children in different ways. As the child grows up, the symptoms and impacts can change. There is currently no cure for cerebral palsy, but there are various treatment methods that can help manage symptoms. Physical therapy, occupational therapy and medications can all help manage symptoms and improve overall function.
Living with Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy can certainly impact the individual’s life. That doesn’t mean that the person cannot have a fulfilling and happy life. By recognizing the symptoms of cerebral palsy and getting treatment as soon as possible, children can go on to do incredible things.