Health

Boy has hands and legs amputated after flu-like illness took a turn

Mathias Uribe thought he had a run-of-the-mill infection. He's been in the hospital for more than 50 days and lost his limbs.

Mathias Uribe and his family
Catalina Cardona
SMS

A 14-year-old boy in Tennessee needed both his legs and hands amputated after an infection took a tragic turn.

Back in June, Mathias Uribe was feeling pretty sick. His dad took him to a local hospital for his flu-like symptoms. In an extremely rare turn of events, his illness quickly progressed to septic shock. 

Mathias went into cardiac arrest for 6 minutes at that hospital. He had to be airlifted to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt where there was an available ECMO machine.

Twelve days of ECMO saved Mathias' organs. However, it wasn't enough to save his hands or legs. They did not receive enough blood during that time and had to be amputated.

His parents have been so impressed by their son's strength. Naturally, the surgeries have been hard on the boy. He's an active teenager who also loves chess and piano.

"We told him we're going to be your arm and legs," said Edgar Uribe, his father.

Prosthetics and rehab will likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars over Mathias' lifetime. The family anticipates that wheelchairs, therapies, modifications to their home and vehicles will be expensive too. There is a GoFundMe set up for Mathias' family to help them with the costs.

This story was originally published by Hannah McDonald at Scripps News Nashville.