My fiancee's nephew has ITP.
It's a bleeding disorder, where the body's immune system, for whatever reason, decides that the body's platelets need to be destroyed. Basically, the immune system thinks that platelets are an infectious agent, like a flu virus, and they gotta go.
Platelets are one of the biggest components of the body's clotting mechanism. When you cut yourself shaving, it's the platelets that make the bleeding stop (along with a whole bunch of other things, but platelets are the big one.) Without sufficient platelets, any minor nick can bleed and bleed and bleed.
There's really no cure. Steroids are used to temper the immune response, but that puts the patient at risk for other problems. Suddenly, the common cold become much more serious.
Sometimes the spleen has to be removed. When the immune system paints cross-hairs on a platelet, the spleen is the firing range. That's where platelets go to die. So, the theory goes, that if you remove the spleen, you increase chances of remission of the ITP. However, let's stop and think about that for a minute: A patient that has a bleeding disorder + scalpel + organ removal = possibly a Bad Thing.
Other treatments are hit-and-miss... platelet infusions don't work, because the new platelets are going to get whacked too. A few experimental drugs have some modest results, but they are EX-PEN-SIVE, and don't always work.
At any rate, little guy has it, and there's no real cure. And last night, he had hisself a bit of an attack, platelet count below 5,000 (the doctors typically start treatment if it drops below 20,000... so he is WAY low.) He's currently on a ventilator in the ICU at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis (It's part of the IU Health System, and IU has a pretty good school of medicine. They know their stuff, and if there's a way to fix this, they'll find it), and going for a CT scan... he lost consciousness and they're worried he's had some bleeding in the brain.
He's 7 years old.
If'n y'all could find a minute or two to say a prayer to the deity of your choice, send out some positive vibes, light a candle, chant some Latin, or dance the "Hope the Sick Kid Gets Well" boogie, I'd appreciate.