Teen’s Hands and Feet Amputated After Experiencing Flu-Like Symptoms

In a heart-wrenching decision, a Tennessee couple chose to amputate their 14-year-old son’s limbs to save his life. Mathias Uribe’s parents, Edgar and Catalina, noticed their son’s flu-like symptoms escalating to a life-threatening condition, prompting them to rush him to the hospital.

Despite the drastic change in their son’s physical condition, the Uribes remain hopeful about Mathias’ future. They envision him running with prosthetic limbs and playing the piano, activities he enjoyed before his illness. Catalina Uribe expressed her mixed emotions, finding it difficult to watch old videos of Mathias but grateful that he is still alive.

Mathias has been receiving treatment at the Monroe Carrel Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt for the past two months. His condition deteriorated after he was diagnosed with pneumonia and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, which led to cardiac arrest. To keep him alive, he was placed on an ECMO machine, a device that pumps blood throughout the body, for nearly two weeks.

The severity of Mathias’ condition necessitated the amputation of his limbs. Edgar Uribe explained that the blood flow was not reaching all of his son’s extremities, leading to the difficult decision. Catalina Uribe, however, preferred to use the term ‘remove’ instead of ‘amputation’.

Dr. Katie Boyle, an ICU pediatrician leading Mathias’ care team, described his condition as extremely rare. She emphasized that while flu can sometimes lead to bacterial infections, most children do not become as severely ill as Mathias did. Dr. Boyle reassured the Uribes that there was nothing they could have done differently to prevent the amputations.

Mathias has undergone nearly a dozen surgeries, with more expected in the future. His parents are hopeful that he will be able to use prosthetic limbs once he leaves the hospital. They anticipate that Mathias will remain in the hospital for another month and are exploring a facility in Atlanta for his prosthetics and rehabilitation.

Edgar Uribe expressed his commitment to support his son during this challenging time, saying, “We are going to be your arms and legs until we figure all of this out.” The family has set up a GoFundMe page for those who wish to contribute to Mathias’ recovery.