The parents of a 14-year-old boy are speaking out after a rare illness that apparently started out like the common flu turned into a life-threatening illness. As a result, the boy has had to have both legs and hands amputated.
Mathias Uribe found himself in the doctor’s office twice over the summer for prolonged influenza, but that soon turned into an emergency room visit on June 30 after his “heart stopped,” according to a GoFundMe campaign that was kicked off following the development.
KTLA reported that Uribe was diagnosed with pneumonia and Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, which has been characterized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “an infection with Streptococcus pyogenes accompanied by sudden onset of shock, organ failure, and frequently death.”
He was ultimately admitted to the ICU at Monroe Carrel Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville. Though he was taken off life support in July, his doctors and family had to make the heartbreaking decision to amputate his hands and feet due to poor blood flow in August.
The family said on the GoFundMe page: “It is extremely hard for us to explain the ups and downs we have felt in the last few weeks. Our brilliant, 14-year-old son is a fighter.”
“Our son has always been a happy, tender, loving boy, who touches the heart of everyone around him. At school, he has always excelled, and his teachers always have nothing but praise for his work ethic and eagerness to learn and go above and beyond both inside and outside the classroom.”
The doctors mentioned that there was nothing else that could be done to help Uribe.
“Sometimes, when you get the flu, it does set you up for a bacterial infection. But even then, most kids don’t get nearly as sick as Mathias did,” Dr. Katie Boyle said.
While the illness continues to be very rare, a letter to the editor in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal said that clinicians should be made aware of STSS increasing across Europe and U.S. in the last year. The development has become more common in children who have had influenza infections, according to KTLA.
“We are in awe of his unwavering spirit and determination, which will undoubtedly guide him through the challenges that lie ahead,” Uribe’s family said.
At the time of this report, the Uribe family has raised $279,125 of their goal of $500,000 from the GoFundMe campaign.
The family wrote: “OUR FAITH IS BIGGER THAN OUR FEARS.”
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