It took almost two years for Nicole Delien’s family to find someone who could explain the mysterious illness that was making their little girl “sleep” for as long as 64 days. During those excruciating 21 months doctors diagnosed everything from West Nile to epilepsy.
Some even suggested that Nicole’s parents might be drugging her or somehow manipulating her sleep – an accusation that led to a report to Child Protective Services.
Finally, when the family was at their wits end, they found Dr. Michael Rancurello at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, who diagnosed Nicole, 17, with an exceedingly rare disorder called Kleine-Levin Syndrome. Rancurello wasn’t an expert in the syndrome, but by chance he’d already treated several patients with the disorder that periodically sends patients into a strange state in which they alternate between long stretches of actual sleep and periods of semi conscious delirium.
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