Tennessee Teen Has His Hands and Feet Amputated After 'Extremely Rare' Bacterial Infection

Mathias Uribe’s parents made a difficult decision after he was diagnosed with pneumonia and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome

The parents of a 14-year-old Tennessee boy made the difficult decision to amputate their son’s hands and feet to save his life, after a diagnosis of pneumonia and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome sent him into cardiac arrest.

When Mathias Uribe started experiencing “flu-like symptoms” in June, his parents Edgar Uribe and Catalina Cardona knew something was wrong.

He was taken to doctors twice, according to a GoFundMe page set up to help cover Mathias’ eventual hospital stay.

According to NewsChannel5, while at a local hospital, Mathias’ illness rapidly progressed to septic shock and he went into cardiac arrest for six minutes. The teenager was airlifted to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital. at Vanderbilt, where an ECMO device was available.

The Mayo Clinic describes an ECMO machine as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, in which blood is pumped from outside a person’s body to a heart-lung machine in critical or life-threatening situations when the heart and lungs need help to heal.

A doctor examining a patient.

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“We come to you with heavy hearts to share the difficult news about our beloved son,” the GoFundMe message begins, explaining how the family’s “world fell apart” on June 30 when Mathias was taken to the emergency room, “where his heart stopped.”

dr. Katherine Boyle, an assistant professor of pediatric critical care medicine at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital who led Mathias’ care team, told WSMV that the boy’s medical situation is “extremely rare.”

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“Sometimes when you get the flu, it sets you up for a bacterial infection. But even then, most kids don’t get nearly as sick as Mathias,” Boyle said.

On July 12, when Mathias’ heart and lungs were showing improvement, his medical team removed ECMO therapy. His ventilator was removed on July 18 as his health continued to improve.

The GoFundMe statement states that “after 20 days of intensive treatment, we were told his extremities were at risk.” After talking with the teenager’s medical team, Mathias’ parents made the difficult decision to amputate his hands and feet.

“That flow wasn’t reaching all of his limbs, so they had to amputate all four of his limbs,” Mathias’ father told WSMV.

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Mathias reportedly underwent surgery on July 25 to remove his left leg above the knee and his right leg below the knee. The surgery to amputate both hands above the wrist was performed on August 1.

“When we got to the doctor, I said ‘Please don’t use the word amputation,'” Mathias’ mother told WSMV. “Let’s use ‘remove’. ”

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Mathias’ parents expect that he will be in the hospital for another month, where the teenager has already spent more than two months. They are looking for prosthetics and rehabilitation in the Atlanta area, according to WSMV.

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Both parents are asking for “support, love and prayers” as their son continues his recovery.

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Source: HIS Education

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