Hauppauge's Nick Mauriello, right, wrestles St. Anthony's in December. (Dec....

Hauppauge's Nick Mauriello, right, wrestles St. Anthony's in December. (Dec. 16, 2010) Credit: George A. Faella

He told his doctor he wanted a cheeseburger.

That was the non-medical sign that things continue to go positively for 16-year-old Nick Mauriello, the Hauppauge wrestler recovering from Lemierre's syndrome, an inflammation of blood vessels caused by the dangerous bacterial infection MRSA.

"The blood cultures were negative and have been negative since Feb. 6. That's reassuring," Dr. Rahul Panesar, the pediatric intensive care specialist who is treating Mauriello at Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital, told Newsday Thursday night. A negative blood culture indicates that the antibiotics being used to treat the serious infection are working.

"He's doing fine. He drank some chocolate milk. He was sitting up in a chair," Panesar said. "He met with friends in his room and that perked him up." Only family members had visited Mauriello until Thursday.

Panesar said he still would classify Mauriello's condition as "serious" but said that could be upgraded soon. The doctor said he is hopeful the patient can be taken out of ICU and moved onto the pediatric floor at Stony Brook, perhaps as soon as Friday.

Panesar also speculated that Mauriello is recovering so well that he might be able to do his lengthy rehabilitation at home.

"He's in pretty decent spirits," Panesar said. "His kidneys are working fine. He urinated on his own, and that is a sign of very good progress. And he has an appetite."

That was evident when Mauriello made his menu request, which Panesar denied. But he joked to Mauriello's parents, Nick and Sheila, "You should go to Carvel's or Coldstone Creamery and bring him something. Nick perked up a bit when I said that.''


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