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Michael’s Journey

Please help brighten this young steer jocks day by adding one of your farm/ranch hats to his collection during his long hospital stay! Read about his challenging journey below.


Attn: Michael McDonough

8JCP Burn Unit

200 Hawkins Dr

Iowa City, IA 52242


Michael’s Journey!


Michael McDonough is a 14-year-old from Oelwein, Iowa and an avid cattleman. He is co-owner of the newly established “McDonough Bros Cattle,” with the help of his 16-year-oldbrother, Dan. Michael does have epilepsy, but before his recent journey, he was an otherwise healthy kid who spent as much time as possible in the barn. Many of you may know Michael from phone calls or various encounters at shows! On Friday,March 29th, Michael awoke with a scratchy throat but went ahead and continued to get ready for school. Throughout the day, he began to feel a burning sensation in his eyes and what felt like a canker sore in his mouth, but by the next morning, his entire face was swollen, and a rash had appeared on his body. Michael’s dad, Ken, quickly referred to the Merck manual to investigate epileptic drug reactions in adolescents, and within 10 minutes he had concluded that Michael’s symptoms may be accredited his recent switch to Carbamazepine, a medicine to control his seizures. He recognized that the symptoms being shown may be symptoms of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome that later became Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN). Knowing the severity of the syndrome, action needed to be taken quickly, so the decision was made to take him directly to Mayo; being the place that Michael visits for his neurology appointments. After being at Mayo for less than 48 hours, the condition progressed so quickly “burning” 90% of his body. The severity of the burn required wound care that could only be done at a burn unit, and since Mayo does not have a burn unit, Michael was airlifted to Regions Medical Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. After a two week stay in the burn unit, Michael did develop septicemia, that later caused Septic shock. It was then, that we were told that he was dying and the only hopes of saving his life was transferring him to a hospital with an ECMO machine (a type of life support). He was transferred by ambulance only a few miles over to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s hospital in Minneapolis. Michael never gave up, and within hours, we received news that he had improved by one thousand percent! However, we were told that the road to recovery would be very long. The UofM was tasked with getting Michael to a stable point internally, and after two weeks and more stability, he needed to again be transferred to a pediatric ICU/burn unit. Michael was flown by airplane to the University of Iowa where he was in the pediatric ICU for over two weeks, but after improving, he was able to make the transfer out of ICU and into the burn unit. Michael has started his eighth week in the hospital and will be starting skin grafting this week; but we are confident that he is finally on the road to recovery. By the grace of God, Michael is still with us today! It is so great to be closer to home, and Michael is constant motivated by the hopes of being back with his cattle. Although Michael still has a tracheal tube and cannot talk, his brother, Dan, has made frequent visits to discuss future shows and breeding opportunities. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers. He has been told by many that he has “steer jocking” to do! We look forward to getting him back in the ring later this summer!



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