Seven months after he nearly died from a condition that came close to shutting down his major organs, 8-year-old Sean Hatzfeld is back to normal and raising money to help others avoid similar situations.
In February, Sean came down with sepsis, a complication of an infection that, if not treated, could be fatal.
At first, a rash formed over his right eye. It spread throughout his body and began to cause his head to swell as a high fever developed and his blood pressure dropped. That’s when his doctors recommended that his parents bring him to Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola.
In no time, staff there diagnosed his condition and got it under control.
“We know that early recognition and prompt therapy can save lives and every hour of delay matters in terms of mortality,” said Dr. Maria Lyn Quintos-Alagheband’s, associate director of pediatric critical care and physician quality officer at The Children’s Medical Center at Winthrop.
Thankful for their efforts, the Hatzfeld family has raised $25,000 that will go to Winthrop-University Hospital’s sepsis campaign. They are in talks of figuring out how exactly the money will be used — it could go to a new monitor or to their education program. The family raised the money through hosting the Tee Up to Drive Out Sepsis golf outing. Eighty-four golfers showed up on Monday after paying the $150 registration fee.
“We wanted to, first off, pay it forward, thank the people, the doctors and nurses for all they did for us,” said Chris Hatzfeld, 48, Sean’s father. “And also to cause awareness so if this happens to someone else, maybe we can save another kid’s life like they saved ours.”
Dr. Bradley Block, an outside ear, nose and throat physician, operated on Sean at Winthrop to clear out infected tissues near the openings to his sinuses. Afterward, Sean had dialysis for kidney failure.
“He was fighting for his life the first couple of days but you can see how he amazingly recovered with what I would call 100 percent recovery,” Quintos-Alagheband said.
Sean’s mother, Patricia, 45, said her son has turned a near-fatal situation into a positive one.
“I don’t think it’s changed him except make him fearless,” said Patricia Hatzfeld. “Look out when he’s older.”