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Man Recovers After Rare Bacteria Caused Septic Shock, Left Him with 'No Brain Activity': 'We Never Lost Hope'

Steven Spinale's condition "declined fast," with doctors noting he had been “bleeding internally,” according to his sister

<p>Go Fund Me</p> Steven Spinale

Go Fund Me

Steven Spinale

The story of a man who recovered after having been placed in a coma and given a 4% survival rate has gone viral on social media after his sister shared his journey.

Michelle Spinale posted a series of videos on TikTok showing how her brother, Steven Spinale, survived after he contracted a rare bacteria when he was hospitalized in late 2022.

She shared in a GoFundMe that he had been “pretty sick” for at least a month and doctors were unable to “figure out” what was wrong with him, though they noted that he had been “bleeding internally from somewhere.” He “declined fast” and was eventually put on life support by mid-October, as his organs began to shut down due to septic shock as a result of the bacterial infection.

Septic shock is a progression of sepsis, in which the body’s infection-fighting processes turn on itself, causing the organs to work poorly, according to the Mayo Clinic. In Septic shock, the body experiences a dramatic drop in blood pressure that can damage the lungs, kidneys, liver and other organs, per the clinic.

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While in the hospital, Michelle shared that Steven had undergone a multi-month journey to survive. In one video, she said he had “a stroke,” “massive” blood clots in his legs and heart chamber, pneumonia and had even contracted ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome).

She also stated that had to be put on a RotoProne bed, which treats “severe respiratory failure” per the National Health Institute.

In the video and on GoFundMe, she explained that the bacterial infection eventually “reached his heart” and he needed to undergo open heart surgery. She noted that he was brought out of his coma for the surgery and “intubated for 36 hours” because his “blood wouldn't clot” and had to undergo a second surgery to close the wound.

In another video, Michelle shared that doctors told them Steven had a “4% survival rate” and had “no brain activity,” and should be considered to be taken off life support. However, she said that the family stayed strong, as they noticed Steven would respond to them in his coma. After three weeks, he eventually woke up and started the slow recovery process.

“We never lost hope,” Michelle wrote on one TikTok that showed photos of him in the ICU and waking up. “And luckily [he’s] alive today.”

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On Nov. 29, 2022, Michelle shared an update showing Steven sitting up in bed while smiling and noted that he was learning to sit up on his own again. She said that he still had a “long road” of recovery ahead of him but was "steadily on his way."

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She also shared a video showing him undergoing physical therapy at the hospital by doing leg presses. She wrote over it, “We never lost hope of faith. And thank God we didn’t because look at him now! [Doctors] aren’t the final word.”

In an update a year later, she showed Steven up and walking with an aid around his home. “We are blessed. What a journey it has been,” she said.

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