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Girl Who Lost Limbs After Chickenpox Is Improving

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jessica Lynn Esquivel, the 6-year-old Imperial Beach girl whose arms and legs were amputated after a case of chickenpox led to a secondary infection and then to toxic shock syndrome, has had her condition upgraded to fair, medical workers said Thursday.

Jessica, who was admitted to Children’s Hospital on April 1 with what doctors had first believed was a routine case of chickenpox, is “now taking very few medications,” is eating solid food and riding in a wheelchair, said Mark Morelli, a spokesman for the hospital.

“She’s spending time out of her bed, taking short rides in the wheelchair and sitting beside her bed,” Morelli said. “She’s been moved out of pediatric intensive care and into a private room.”

The kindergartner at Oneonta Elementary School in Imperial Beach had been in critical condition until two weeks ago, when she was upgraded to serious. On Thursday, doctors felt her condition had improved to fair, Morelli said.

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Jessica came down with chickenpox March 27. After a streptococcus bacterium entered her body through one of her pox-caused lesions, the onset of toxic shock syndrome led to full cardiac arrest, as well as kidney, liver and respiratory failure, doctors said. They expect her to have full liver, kidney and respiratory recovery.

Morelli said it will be “a matter of weeks” before Jessica begins experimenting with artificial limbs.

Her parents, Lisa and Felix Esquivel, were unavailable for comment Thursday.


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