Lost her son, Jeff, age 29
On Sunday, February 19, 2012, Jeff, a healthy 29 year old, had been in Charleston for the weekend and had felt a little tired, but disregarded it. Monday, 02/20/12 he called me at lunchtime to tell me he had a fever, his head and back were hurting and he felt like he had the flu. He went home from work at 2pm. I went to his house to check on him at 5:30-6pm. When I first arrived, he was warm to the touch, but the thermometer kept reading 98 degrees. After a while, I finally took his temperature from under his arm and it was 102.5 degrees. So I took him to an urgent care. The diagnosis at the urgent care was the flu, so he was sent home with meds at around 7pm. His major complaint continued to be his extreme headache, a backache and his fever. We both went to bed about 11pm.
At 3am I heard him fall into the bathroom cabinet and he had fallen off of the toilet. He seemed like someone would if they were intoxicated and were somewhat incoherent. He had bloodshot eyes and it was necessary for me to assist him to the car. This time I was taking him to the hospital ER. When we arrived at the ER at 4am, he wondered off, confused, after I signed him in. The ER desk clerk seemed to think he was intoxicated. He was immediately sent to triage. They took his vitals and once again his temperature didn’t read in his mouth. When his temp was taken under his arm it was 103 degrees. The triage nurse called for a room immediately. The medical staff started work immediately and he started declining from that moment on. IV’s, a catheter, etc… On his eyelids there were pin-prick like spots that appeared (looked kind of like a blue felt tipped marker had been dotted on his eyelids) – 6am. All fluid from blood and a spinal tap were clear at this time. He started to become non-responsive, or unable to answer simple questions during this time. At 6:30am they told me my son was very sick and they were moving him to critical care. His platelets were 22 and the doctors were very concerned. I would be able to visit him later. He was put on a ventilator. At 7:30am they advised me his kidneys had failed and it was time for kidney dialysis. The doctor told me at this time that Jeff had been resuscitated earlier and I could see him later (after the dialysis). Throughout the day they would give me updates, and they told me that Jeff was the most sick person in critical care, in the smallest room with the most equipment. Also throughout the day, I was being called back to answer questions because they still couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. At 12am Jeff’s platelets had gone up to 25 and the doctor said they wanted to scope Jeff’s stomach and there was a very small window of time to take this opportunity. The diagnosis had suddenly changed to sepsis from meningitis. The scope showed that everything was OK, but there was one organ that had to be sustained by machine, but I can’t remember which organ (getting medical records tomorrow). At 4am, they told us that he had some bleeding on the brain and the neurologist would be in between 6-8am and they may want to try to drain the blood from his brain. However, at about 9:30am, they advised me he was brain dead and asked if we wanted to remove the life support. At which time we said yes. The final diagnosis was meningitis.
None of the other young men that traveled with Jeff to Charleston got sick.
Hopefully, my son’s story will help someone else in some way. If you have any questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me at the phone number or address below. Or email me! Thanks for your concern and all you are doing with your foundation to help others.