What was the doctor's diagnosis of the baby in The Miracle Worker?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The doctor says that the baby will live, but she had what the doctor called acute congestion of the stomach and brain from a serious fever.

At the beginning of the play, the doctor is examining young Helen. She has had a serious illness, but he announces that she will live.  Her parents and the doctor are relieved, because for a while there they did not think she would.

Main thing is the fever’s gone, these things come and go in infants, never know why. Call it acute congestion of the stomach and brain. (Act 1, Scene 1)

Helen Keller was 19 months old when this happened.  Now we know that she probably had Scarlet Fever or Meningitis, but the doctor had no way of knowing.  He just knew that she had recovered, and would live.  Unfortunately, the illness left her blind and deaf.  One or the other would be difficult to contend with, but with both she ran nearly wild until Anne Sullivan came to teach her.

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The Miracle Worker

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