A Nurse Became a Quadriplegic Due to a Sepsis Infection

Jon Aquino, a thirty-seven-year-old nurse, and his family were on vacation in New Jersey last August when he became seriously ill. Jon was immediately rushed to a Camden, New Jersey hospital by air ambulance.

According to an account in Newsweek, at Camden Jon was diagnosed with strep meningitis, a bacterial type of aggressive meningitis. It is potentially fatal.

Newsweek’s account of the incident gave no indication that the disease was caused by COVID.

Disease Progression

Sepsis is an aggressive disease. Shortly after diagnosis, Jon went into septic shock. He was sedated, put on a ventilator due to kidney and liver failure, and also developed a brain bleed. Jon’s feet and hands were gradually turning black due to decaying tissue. Within one month Jon’s feet and hands were amputated.

Jon and his wife have two children. His wife Kay is a nurse. Kay said that they had to be extremely proactive with the amputations because it was the only way to keep Jon alive.

Cause and Symptoms

According to a definition by the Mayo Clinic, viral infections are the cause of most meningitis cases in the U.S. Other causes may be bacteria, parasitic, and fungal infections.

The disease can spread between individuals or by way of contaminated food.

Bacterial meningitis symptoms include headaches, fever, neck stiffness, vomiting, nausea, sensitivity to light, and confusion. These symptoms usually appear within one week of acquiring the infection.

The CDC advises beginning antibiotics as soon as possible.

Strep meningitis may also lead to potentially fatal sepsis as it did with Jon. Sepsis is an autoimmune disease that may cause additional organ failure, low blood pressure, and tissue damage.

A Long, Slow Recovery

Jon is making progress. He is determined to return to work and even to run again at some time in the future.

Currently, Jon is using temporary prosthetics, but Kay says that Jon has learned to comb his hair and feed himself. He can move from his hospital bed into a wheelchair and also navigate to a shower chair.

Although he has managed to recover from a failed liver, Jon has not yet overcome kidney failure.

Jon had been working in a COVID unit as of March 2020. His unit is dedicated entirely to COVID patients. Jon’s colleagues can tell you how much he is admired. He was nominated as the March of Dimes Nurse of the year in 2015. Jon then became the nurse manager of his unit and garnered other awards.

A GoFundMe for Jon Aquino

Jon’s friends and associates have prepared a GoFundMe page to help with the myriad of bills for his treatment and devices. It is a tremendous burden but not as enormous as the one that Jon is now carrying. He is a remarkable role model and wants to return to the role of helping others.

Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) six years ago. During this period of partial remission, Rose researched investigational drugs to be prepared in the event of a relapse. Her husband died February 12, 2021 with a rare and unexplained occurrence of liver cancer possibly unrelated to AML.

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