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Little girl's illness baffles Utah doctors


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SALT LAKE CITY -- A Salt Lake City girl is shrinking and losing weight, and doctors don't know why. That's why Michelle and Sean Agnew are about to take their daughter to Boston Children's Hospital to see if specialists there can come up with any answers.

Little Maggie Agnew is a charming, beautiful 10-month-old girl. In fact, looking at her face, you'd think nothing is wrong. But since she was born last June, she's been losing weight. Currently, the scales are down to 10 pounds 6 ounces.

In addition to weight loss, muscle mass is disappearing and she's shrinking. She has a feeding tube in her stomach, pumping in lots of calories.

"So, she's getting plenty of calories, but her body is burning all the calories that she is getting, and they don't where it's going to," said Maggie's father, Sean Agnew.

Maggie has other problems: She was born with three holes in her heart, although two have now sealed. Her esophagus is the size of a premature infant, and she has breathing problems.

Doctors at Primary Children's Medical Center have been able to correct some of these things, but they're baffled about the villain.

"We've seen every specialist up there. She has probably a dozen specialists of her own up there, and everyone is so stumped on what is going on with her," said Maggie's mother, Michelle Agnew.

Tests come back negative. Diseases you think might be involved don't pan out. Surgeons have taken a muscle biopsy and are awaiting results from those samples.

Primary Children's is now referring little Maggie to specialists at Boston Children's Hospital to see what they can come up with. Meanwhile, Sean and Michelle wait and worry and hope.

"We're just going to keep searching for an answer until they find something, until we can get some kind of a diagnosis of some sort," Michelle said.

"We've had a lot of ups and downs, but we just take it day by day and just try to keep going, try to just hope for the best and stay positive," Sean said.

As bills keep piling up, neighbors and friends have rallied around the family. They're holding a fundraiser for Maggie on May 15 and 16. For more information on that fundraiser and how you can help, CLICK HERE.

E-mail: eyeates@ksl.com

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Ed Yeates

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