Man declared brain dead after pulling out ingrown hair

A man was declared brain dead and given a 4 per cent chance of survival after developing blood poisoning from an ingrown hair.

Steven Spinale was diagnosed with sepsis after getting an infection when he attempted to remove the ingrown hair from his groin area, The Sun reported.

A GoFundMe and TikTok videos shared by his sister Michelle show the dad fighting for his life at the end of 2022, as he was placed in a medically-induced coma and underwent open heart surgery.

Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection that occurs when the immune system overreacts, starting to damage the body’s tissues and organs.

Steven developed the condition after trying to remove an ingrown hair in his leg, which became infected.

Steven, 36 at the time, was pretty sick a month before being admitted to hospital, according to Michelle.

“He was turned away at numerous hospitals [who thought] he was making it up,” she shared in a TikTok clip.

“He started vomiting blood and they still sent him home.

“The next day, my sister had to call 911 because he couldn’t breathe.”

Once Steven was admitted, doctors were baffled by his symptoms and couldn’t figure out what was causing them.

“All they could figure out was he was bleeding internally from somewhere,” his sister wrote in the GoFundMe.

Man declared brain dead after ingrown hair

“Little did we know that would be the smallest worry.”

Doctors discovered that he had a rare bacteria in his blood stream which was “shutting down all his organs”, according to Michelle.

“He declined fast until he crashed and was put on life support.

“He caught a rare bacteria that was ravaging through his body and shutting down all his organs.”

The bacteria drove Steven’s body into septic shock – when blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level after an infection, according to NHS Inform.

Steven’s body succumbed to series of issues as time went on, catching influenza A, contracting pneumonia in both his lungs, and developing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) that left his lungs unable to work.

Doctors then discovered that the septic bacterial infection had reached his heart and “destroyed it”, Michelle said.

The dad also had a “small stroke”.

But he couldn’t undergo surgery as his condition was too critical, his sister added.

Steven was intubated – when a tube is inserted through the nose or mouth to the trachea to help a patient breath – and placed in a medically induced coma.

The heartbroken family were told Steven probably wouldn’t come out of his ordeal alive – with doctors giving him just a four per cent chance of survival.

The family rallied around the dad, with his sister and wife constantly by his side.

To help with ARDS, he was strapped to a rotobed – a specialised hospital bed that rotates – for two weeks, which turned him over “like a rotisserie chicken”, Michelle said.

Open heart surgery

He spent 18 hours each day being turned from his back to chest to relieve pressure from his fluid filled lungs and improve oxygen flow.

Stephen also underwent open heart surgery to repair the sepsis-induced damage and had drains inserted into his chest to remove excess fluid.

After being in a coma for a month and undergoing multiple treatments, Steven emerged with no brain damage and is on the road to recovery.

According to Michelle, the family watched him regain his sparkle after having “dead sunken eyes”.

“Steven has a long road ahead of him but he is steadily on his way,” she wrote on November 29, 2022.

“He is learning how to sit up on his own, which is amazing.”

Though he was released from hospital in a wheelchair, Steven was regaining his ability to walk by the end of 2023.

“I still go back to when they told us Steven was brain dead and that we should take him off life support,” Michelle captioned the clip.

“What a journey.”

This story originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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