Jonathan Hunter

This survivor story is in regards to my 16 year old son, who just spent Thanksgiving in the hospital with Necrotizing Fasciitis in the neck. On November 2, 2007, he woke up with some minor stiffness in his neck, a headache and a general ill feeling. We took his temperature but it was only 100.5 which is not considered a fever. He took some acetaminophen and went back to ed while the rest of us began preparations fro the family dinner. Around noon he felt up to joining us and tried to eat a little something. A short time later the vomiting started and then the diarrhea both left him weal, so he went back to bed. Later that evening we woke him up and took his temperature again, but still no fever. At this point we decided to move him from his room to the living room where we could keep an closer watch on his condition. It took us about 30 minutes to get him into the living room because he was so tired and kept trying to go back to sleep. When he was finally situated we noticed some swelling on the right side of the neck and an area of approximately 4 inches diameter that was red. Jonathan told us that he had been given hickies there by one of the girls he was with the night before. However, wasn't the red you get from a normal hickie at all. Jonathan and I arrived at the hospital around 8:15 pm. The triage nurse thought he had meningitis so they gave us a mask and took us back to the Pediatric area for testing and treatment. Once there an IV was started for Jonathan, they had him remove his shirt to put on a gown and it was then we saw the red area had spread down the neck to his clavicle area on the right and partially around the throat. The Doctor marked this area around 9:30 pm (the photo was taken at 11:50 pm). They then advised that it did not appear to be meningitis but something else. They did find minor lacerations on the right side of his neck. It was 10:03 pm when we noticed a drop in his blood pressure. It wasn't bad but it did cause some concern. Since he was asleep they thought that may have been the cause so the nurse took his pressure again with him awake and it was back within normal range. While waiting, his nurse started clemdomicine and drew blood for blood cultures so I knew it would be some time before we were going home. so, I text messaged my husband the updates and let him know what was happening. At 10:08 pm my son advised it was getting hard for him to swallow and it was causing him to cough. I contacted the nurse. At this point they ordered a CT scan to check his airway and to see how the swelling was effecting his breathing. At 10:38 pm the redness had escaped the original line on his chest and had advanced up his right cheek. They started a second antibiotic. It was 11:42 pm when his pulse took a dip to 91/51 and his pulse went up to 118 beats per minute. His nurse consulted with me and we decided that he was looking worse than when he came into the ER. At this point I began taking photos with my camera phone so we could monitor the progression and his coloring. At 11:46 pm the Doctors began an EKG strip on him and advised that we were not going to wait for a transporter to take Jonathan to the CT scan but that his nurse would take him and stay with him until Jonathan returned to the ER. At 11:56 pm I could hear the nurse telling the radiologist that Jonathan was deteriorating quickly even with the two antibiotics already administered. It was 12:03 am when they began recessitation of my son....At 1:25 am they had him back but his blood pressure was down to 73/40 and he was still not stable. They continued pushing IV fluids into him and started dopamine to get the blood pressure up. By 1:57 am he had received an additional 7,000 cc of IV fluid, at 1:17 am they were inserting an airway to allow him to breath and he had been given a center line in his right thigh which had 3 ports which were all full of IV medications and fluid lines. At 2:15 am he was stable enough to take back to the CT scan to verify the placement of the respirator and airway prior to being moved to the PICU. He was in the OR by 5:30 am on 11/23/007 where they found the necrotizing fasciitious in a pocket next to the vena cava. They removed some tissue, a vein, and some nerves as well as the surface skin. This was the first of his surgeries. He spent 5 days in the PICU and by the 4th day he had completed 3 surgeries, had maintained his own blood pressure and contracted a secondary infection site, which was treated with injections of antibiotics directly into the infected area. The diagnosis was Staph group "B" +1, Strep group "B" +4 and type 1 Necrotizing Fasciitious. I have included the photos from the initial photo taken at 11:50 pm on 11/22/2007, the wound after the second surgery, the wound after the 3rd surgery and the final wound photo after closure. He did not need graphs however they did have to pull the skin so tight on the neck area that he cannot hold his head straight. They tell me that in time it will ease and he will look more natural. His wounds aren't a grievous as some of the others you have listed here, however if he had not gotten prompt medical attention he would not have survived the septic shock or the NF. He was lucky, it is 23 stitches in the neck and 5 in the chest. It could have been so much more.... Also, just an update, last night we were back in the ER to have the site drained again and we are currently under an "open wound" treatment where the surgical site is being packed. No return of the NF and no additional damage it was just there was fluid and puss trapped inside the surgical area. We live in Fair Oaks, CA and unlike some of the stories I have read on your site, his NF was detected early and the hospital staff at UC Davis hospital were superb in their and treatment. Last night they brought all of the original team together to work on this wound even though we were in the ER not a regular clinic setting.