Christopher Matherne, 17, died of COVID-19 on Friday after suffering from complications and being placed on a ventilator and ECMO machine for more than a month
Christopher Matherne’s parents were forced to monitor his vital signs using a cell phone app before they were finally able to get through to 911.
The 17-year-old was eventually rushed to hospital and died on Friday after almost a month on a ventilator in a medically induced coma.
Hurricane Ida smashed into the state in late August, causing mass destruction and leaving hospitals with structural damage.
Powerlines were knocked down in strong winds, and 911 lines were inoperable for several days.
Due to his illness, his family couldn’t evacuate their home in Houma, Louisiana.
The family started to check Christopher’s vital signs using their cell phones, according to KOCO News 5.
‘His health deteriorated within a couple of days,’ his mother Kristi told WDSU 6. ‘We were scared we were going to lose him on the sofa.’
Five days after the Category Four storm hit Louisiana, the Mathernes were able to call 911.
Christopher was transported to Thibodaux Regional Medical Center before being transferred to the Children’s Hospital New Orleans after a drop in his oxygen levels, according go the GoFundMe set up by a family friend.
Christopher went on to spend five days on a BiPAP machine, which supplies pressurized air to the lungs.
Eventually he went on a ventilator and an ECMO machine, which provides prolonged cardiac and respiratory support when the heart and lungs are unable to provide adequate support to sustain life.
Christopher spent 24 days on the ECMO machine in a medically induced coma as his condition worsened.
Christopher (pictured second to left) was transported to Children’s Hospital New Orleans five days after Category 4 storm Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana. The family (pictured) took Christopher’s vital signs on their cells phones while they were unable to reach 911 while the phone lines were down
His mother Kristi wrote on Facebook that her son’s conditions were worsening due to being on an ECMO machine for so long. Christopher would go through 39 blood and platelet transfusions while he was in the hospital and also experienced heart, lung, and liver issues
His mother had posted online saying that her son needed lifesaving platelets, but the city had a shortage of them.
‘There are too many complications starting to happen the longer he stays on ECMO. We both know what the doctor was getting at. It was hard to hear,’ Kristi wrote.
‘We can’t lose him. He’s too young. He’s needing platelets again and we have some donations but he’s bleeding so much. I’m scared we will run out.’
As time went on, Christopher experienced more complications, including, ‘heart, lung and liver issues’ and ‘ended up having 39 blood and platelet transfusions,’ according to the GoFundMe.
Christopher died on October 1 due to COVID-19 complications.
The family is now asking for those who attend their son’s funeral to ‘wear things he would appreciate,’ including Marvel and Disney.
In addition to their son’s health, the family suffered severe structural damage to their house. Their fence and part of their roof is missing due to the storm.
‘You don’t worry about your roof when your child is in the ICU and on a ventilator,’ she told WDSU 6.
A GoFundMe has been set up to cover Christopher’s funeral expenses and the family’s repair expenses for their house, which suffered damage from the storm. The family is asking those who attend his funeral to ‘wear things he would appreciate’ like Marvel or Disney
The Mathernes plan to donate Christopher’s blood and tissue samples to COVID-19 research.
Since the fourth wave of COVID-19 has hit Louisiana, nine children have died of the virus, according to WDSU 6.
Louisiana is currently trending down in coronavirus numbers, with a seven-day average of 864. The state currently has 715 residents hospitalized with the virus, with 135 of them on ventilators.
The state also documents that 81 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in the state are of unvaccinated residents. It is unclear if Christopher was vaccinated.
More than two million have been vaccinated in the state of Louisiana.
Louisiana is currently trending down in COVID-19 cases with a seven-day average of 864 cases. More than 2million state residents are vaccinated