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Fla. paramedic returns to work after battle with rare immune disease

Lakeland Paramedic Steve Connors spent nearly a year receiving treatment for Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder that caused him to become paralyzed and experience extreme pain

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Photo/Lakeland Fire Department

By Laura French

LAKELAND, Fla. — A Florida paramedic returned to work Tuesday after a nearly year-long battle with a rare, debilitating immune disorder.

Lakeland Fire Department Paramedic Steve Connors was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome after he first began noticing symptoms last December, according to FOX 13. The symptoms began with a loss of sensation in one toe that then moved up his body; eventually, he was left completely paralyzed, needing to be intubated and fed through a feeding tube.

Guillain-Barré causes the immune system to attack the nerves, causing extreme pain. Connors told FOX 13, “It was like pouring lava down your spine, ripping the muscles off your bones. Even with morphine, fentanyl, whatever they were pumping into me, it was still incredibly painful.”

Connors spent months in the hospital, losing more than 60 pounds over the course of his treatment. He suffered a collapsed lung while preparing to enter rehabilitation in March, and had to relearn how to walk during his recovery. Connors said he got his drive to go on from his family and through a work ethic he developed as a paratrooper in the Army.

After nearly a year of treatment, recovery and hard work, Connors is now back on the job.

“He walked in the door like he had never missed a beat,” Lakeland Fire Chief Doug Riley told FOX 13.[0]=AZXZNDPPt29pCbrMHPFNSQ-ZpRqbDZBJs9K38gg3yry123RsnUuaX6ycgzUYfV-ZTt0AxEg_7qg1rPtDk9bQkmBYQvL9eOkG6i03Mio_DHwp_1MOy7dfp8j3taj9nv1HZmNAejUuEjy3uBerp0w_--qo&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-R