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6-year-old Florida boy dies of rabies after being scratched by bat

Father prayed for a miracle that never happened
Posted at 3:26 PM, Jan 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-16 05:59:42-05

EUSTIS, Fla. — A grief stricken and guilt ridden father said he prayed for a miracle that his son Ryker Roque would survive his rabies infection. On Sunday, that first grader lost his long fought battle.

"I said look I’ve seen huge miracles before and I went back on the bed and laid with him and held him and I said 'Ryker miracles happen every day I know you hear me, your heart is beating, you are breathing, wake up, come on buddy wake up, wake up,'" Henry Roque said. "And, I’m shaking and shaking him wake up, wake up, wake up I said I’m not leaving you miracles happen everyday and nothing nothing."

Roque said he had found a sick bat, put it in a bucket and told his son not to touch it, but he did and was scratched.

He said he washed the wound thoroughly but didn’t take the boy to the hospital because he cried when he was told he would get shots.

About a week later the boy developed numb fingers and a headache and his parents took him for hospital treatment.

"I want him back so bad I talked to God and I asked him why would you take my child?" Roque said. "He told me I know you can fix this and his hands were shaking before they put him down, and he said 'daddy can you fix this fix this? And, I said 'I’ll try I’ll try and fix this.'"

Doctors tried a procedure called the Milwaukee protocol, sometimes referred to as the Wisconsin protocol. It is an experimental course of treatment of an infection of rabies in a human being. The treatment involves putting the patient into a chemically induced coma and administering antiviral drugs.  Roque said his son fought for nine days. But, the virus was too far along.

"I feel I let him down I don’t know what to do and no one can say anything in this world to make you feel any different when you lose a child," Roque said. "I’ve never loved anyone or anything more. I never left his bedside. I’m supposed to protect him you know I’m his father that’s what you do you protect your kids."

Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms develop. A vaccine given after a wound but before symptoms almost always prevents the disease.