In an unexpected and rare medical situation, a 14-year-old boy from Tennessee underwent the removal of his hands and feet after his flu-like symptoms escalated dramatically. Mathias Uribe was swiftly taken to the Monroe Carrel Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt when his condition deteriorated.

His parents, Edgar and Catalina Uribe are faced with a mixture of gratitude for their son’s life and the heartbreaking reality of his condition. While watching videos of their son’s past activities, Catalina mentioned, “It’s challenging to see, but I am grateful he’s still here.”

Mathias’ diagnosis included pneumonia and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, which led to cardiac arrest. He was supported by an ECMO machine for nearly two weeks, which, although life-saving, couldn’t ensure blood flow to his extremities, resulting in the crucial decision to amputate them.

Trying to approach the situation with a positive mindset, Catalina Uribe said, “We prefer to say ‘remove’ instead of ‘amputation.'”

Dr. Katie Boyle, heading Mathias’ care team, emphasized the extreme rarity of such a condition. While flu can sometimes act as a precursor for bacterial infections, cases as severe as Mathias’ are uncommon.

She provided guidance for parents, advising the importance of flu vaccinations and emphasizing the necessity of hospital visits if children exhibit severe symptoms such as high fever, difficulty in waking up, or inability to consume fluids.

Having undergone numerous surgeries with more in line, Mathias’s resilient spirit is supported by his parents’ belief in a limitless future for him, one with prosthetics and rehabilitation. They are now researching centers in Atlanta for Mathias’s prosthetic needs and rehabilitation.

His father, Edgar Uribe, assuredly said, “We will be his arms and legs until we navigate through this.”

For those interested in assisting with Mathias’ journey to recovery, a GoFundMe page has been set up.



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