Young Charlotte Figi was born with Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy in which the patent suffers frequent, long-lasting seizures that don't respond to medication. Charlotte spent a lot of time in various hospitals, while the seizures stunted her development.
By then Charlotte had lost the ability to walk, talk and eat.
She was having 300 grand mal seizures a week.
Her heart had stopped a number of times. When it happened at home, Paige did cardiopulmonary resuscitation until an ambulance arrived. When it happened in the hospital, where they'd already signed a do-not-resuscitate order, they said their goodbyes. Doctors had even suggested putting Charlotte in a medically induced coma to give her small, battered body a rest.
She was 5 when the Figis learned there was nothing more the hospital could do.
Charlotte's father Matt Fiji had read about a case in which medicinal marijuana helped another Dravet patient. It was a special strain that was low in THC and high in cannabidiol, or CBD, which has medicinal properties but will not make you high. After a difficult quest to get a prescription, Charlotte's parents bought two ounces, which was the entire supply available.
"When she didn't have those three, four seizures that first hour, that was the first sign," Paige recalled. "And I thought well, 'Let's go another hour, this has got to be a fluke.' "
The seizures stopped for another hour. And for the following seven days.
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