Man Recovering from GBS Returns to Hospital to Thank His Nurses


In January 2023, 23-year-old Angel Anthony Cortez was admitted to the hospital. His health had rapidly deteriorated over the previous days and his family was concerned. Following his admission, Cortez’s health continued to worsen. Paralysis set in in his arms and legs. He was placed on ventilatory support after he lost the ability to breathe. Eventually, reports KENS 5, the hospital diagnosed Cortez with a rare and serious condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). 

Even while on the ventilator and receiving IVIg (intravenous immunoglobulin), nurses were concerned about Cortez. The hospital made the decision to transfer him to Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, TX; here, Cortez would have access to an in-house neurologist to aid with treatment. He also began plasmapheresis treatment. 

Cortez recently traveled back to his original hospital to give thanks to the nurses that had worked diligently to support him. He brought flowers and kind words. But the nurses say that nothing is more rewarding and fulfilling than seeing him healthy. 

While his recovery has been going well, there is still a long road ahead. Cortez’s family is raising funds to assist with medical costs. If you would like to donate, you may do so here

About Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)

Normally, our immune system protects us against bacteria, viruses, and other foreign invaders. But what happens when our immune system mistakenly attacks healthy parts of our body instead? In Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, the immune system mistakenly attacks the nerves that are located in your peripheral nervous system (outside of your brain and spinal cord). This damages the myelin sheath, or the nerves’ protective covering. Doctors don’t know why this occurs but believe that some sort of viral infection may trigger the attack. Recovering from GBS is possible, though the timeline may vary between weeks to years. Up to 30% of people with GBS still have muscle weakness within three years. Plasmapheresis, high-dose IVIg, ventilators, and heart monitoring may all be utilized for treatment.

People may experience a sudden onset or sudden intensification of symptoms; the most significant period of weakness occurs 2-3 weeks following when symptoms appear. Potential symptoms may include:

  • Blurry or double vision
  • Tingling and weakness in the legs that later affects the arms and torso
  • Potentially life-threatening muscle paralysis
  • Issues with balance and coordination
  • Problems with bowel or bladder function 
  • Difficulty speaking, swallowing, or chewing
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Tingling (“pins and needles”) in the hands and/or feet
  • Persistent or severe pain
  • Significant fatigue
  • An extremely fast heart rate
Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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