McPherson News-Ledger: McPherson Boy Home Following 100-Day Hospital Stay
by Jessie Wagoner
Hunter Short, 9, arrived in McPherson to a hero's welcome Monday after being discharged from the hospital after 100 days. Short left McPherson by ambulance in critical condition three months ago but was able to return home accompanied by his parents, Kelly and Kenny Short.
Short's recovery - nothing short of a medical miracle - has been a long process. What started as a simple fall from his bicycle quickly escalated to a life-threatening situation. As his condition deteriorated, he was transferred from one hospital to another, beginning in McPherson, heading to Wichita and finally remaining at Children's Mercy in Kansas City until Monday.
"It really is a miracle," Kelly Short said. "The way they were talking before, we thought it would be the middle of next year before he would be able to come home."
Short developed a large blood clot after falling from his bike and also developed a serious infections, making him septic. In an effort to save his life, he was placed on a ventilator and ECMO. The machines kept his heart pumping and oxygen circulating while his small body rested and headed.
While Kelly and Kenny Short waited for Hunter to wake up, the McPherson community rallied around the family. Fundraisers were held and shirts proclaiming, "Hunter is my hero," were made.
Though Hunter is small, he has big dreams of becoming a police officer one day. He loves all things related to law enforcement.
Throughout his hospital stay, he received visits and some goodies from various law enforcement agencies, even the FBI. As his condition improved, he began sporting an FBI hat in some of his pictures his mom shared on Facebook during her regular updates about his journey.
McPherson residents followed along with Hunter's journey through social media. As daily updates were posted, they offered prayers of healing and words of encouragement for the family. As soon as Kelly Short posted an update announcing Hunter would be released from the hospital, the community began planning a homecoming reception fit for a hero.
Monday evening, as the sun began to set, the Shorts entered McPherson, greeted by first responders with their lights and sirens on. Hunter received a full escort from the city limits to his doorstep. People lined Kansas Ave., holding signs, waving glow sticks and cheering loudly as the parade of vehicles approached the Short residence.
"He couldn't believe it was for him," Kelly Short said. "He Just kept saying, 'Oh my gosh, Mom.'"
Not only did Hunter come home to a warm welcome, he also come home to a newly decorated room. His new room is a mix of superhero and law enforcement decor, a celebration of his favorite things. He is now getting settled in, as his parents say, after 100 days away.
"He is loving being home," Kelly Short said. "It's like he was never gone or in the hospital."
Hunter is doing very well but will continue to have follow-up appointments with his physicians.
He will also need to undergo an open heart surgery in the Spring to correct an injury to a heart valve which occurred during a previous procedure. For the time being, the family is thankful for the support and thankful to be home with Hunter for the holidays.
"I want to thank everyone that has been checking on Hunter the last three months and has been following his story; all your prayer and kind words have been very helpful and appreciated," Kelly Short said. "Our family cannot thank everyone enough."
Learn more about the ECMO program at Children's Mercy.