16-year-old girl overcomes mystery illness after eight month battle

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A wave of joy swept over WakeMed Thursday as Alexis MacKay, 16, went home after eight months and three days in the hospital fighting a mystery illness.

Family, friends and healthcare workers all clapped and cheered in celebration as Alexis left the hospital.

"I want to thank all the people here and at Duke, because they saved my life numerous times," Alexis told ABC11.

Her parents said the health crisis began with a skin infection, but her condition progressed to a life-threatening series of challenges. She went into cardiac arrest four times, suffered a pulmonary embolism and was comatose for about three months.

At one point, doctors suspected it was the flu, but the mystery grew when an infection behind her ear entered her bloodstream. Doctors repeatedly tested Alexis for COVID-19 and each time the test returned negative.

When her health challenges began Alexis had a 4.0-grade point average at Franklinton High School and had just turned 16.

Her dad is urging all parents to get their child medical attention if they encounter an infection that does not heal quickly.

"Don't ever downplay or ignore the slightest skin infection", Chris MacKay told ABC11.
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