BOSTON, Mass. - The strange case of a New England college student who had both his legs amputated after eating leftovers is getting renewed attention thanks to a viral video.
The 19-year-old man in question was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) of Massachusetts General Hospital as a result of "shock, multiple organ failure, and rash," according to a March 2021 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The YouTube channel "Chubbyemu," run by Dr. Bernard Hsu, a licensed toxicologist, posted a video of the case on Feb. 16. It’s since been viewed nearly 1 million times.
The 19-year-old man, identified in the YouTube video as "JC," had started feeling abdominal pain and nausea after eating rice, chicken, and lo mein leftovers from a restaurant meal.
He began vomiting and experienced chills, generalized weakness, chest pain, shortness of breath, neck stiffness, and blurry vision, according to the journal. A few hours before his admission, his skin developed a purplish discoloration.
A friend with whom he had been staying took him to an emergency room where he was then flown by helicopter to a hospital. The friend said he had eaten the same meal and vomited but did not become progressively ill.
The man’s temperature peaked 105 degrees and his rate was at 166 beats per minute. His breathing reportedly worsened after being admitted to the hospital and was given oxygen.
Blood and urine tests indicated the man had Neisseria meningitidis. According to Dr. Bernard, "when bacteria are present in the blood, the entire body’s blood vessels dilate, dropping the blood pressure preventing oxygen from getting to the organs."
The man had a "prolonged hospital course" with many complications that included necrosis of the arms and legs and gangrene, leading to the amputation of parts of all 10 fingers and below his knees.
Doctors later learned that he did not have a booster shot of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine when he was 16. Despite the amputations, doctors said he has had a "relatively good recovery."
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