Rare blood infection forces amputation after nearly killing Vall - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Rare blood infection forces amputation after nearly killing Valley teen

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Source: GoFundMe/ Mattingly Family Source: GoFundMe/ Mattingly Family

It started as a small cut on his knee.

PHOENIX - Shrugging off minor cuts and bruises is part of being a parent sometimes. Danelle and James Mattingly are no different with their three children.

"He's always getting scrapes, a pretty active kid," Danelle said about her 13-year-old son Zach.

There was no reason to be concerned when Zach cut himself by falling on a school binder just before Christmas. Then later it seemed normal when he started to complain of ankle pain. The pediatrician took X-rays and they all assumed he rolled the ankle jumping on a trampoline.

"We thought it was a sprained ankle, it was swollen up," Zach's father, James, said.

They knew something was wrong, however, when the ankle just kept getting bigger, and the black and blue marks started to spread up his left leg. The night after Christmas, the Mattinglys went to the emergency room just in the nick of time.

"At that point his body was starting to shut down and they had to rush him in for emergency surgery," Danelle said. "Very scary, his kidneys were shutting down, his liver, and his lungs were filling up with fluid."

Zach had contracted a rare blood infection which was spreading rapidly throughout his body. The infection moving so fast, doctors weren't sure if they could do anything to help.

"They're telling us it's highly likely he's going to pass away, so be prepared," James said.

Remember, this all started from a small cut on Zach's knee. Now, the Mattingly family is coming to grips with the idea their son may die.

Fortunately, that isn't a reality they are dealing with anymore. Zach is beating the infection and hopes to leave the hospital after another month of treatment. But his life won't be the same when he does go home.

"Because of the infection, his foot was dying. it turned purple and they had to amputate his leg below the knee," Danelle said.

From a cut, to a leg amputation, the whole thing happened so fast for a 13-year-old boy who is just now coming to grips with the reality of a new life.

"It just feels like it's not there, and it hurts really bad," Zach said while in obvious pain just two days removed from amputation surgery.

The Mattinglys meanwhile are ecstatic for their future, but also agonizing over the past.

"It's hard because you wonder what if we had got him here a day sooner, could he keep his leg?"

This is something nobody will ever know for sure, but we do know life has forever changed in the Mattingly house," Danelle said.

The cost of Zach's entire treatment could reach nearly $2,000,000 and as small business owners, they don't have major corporate health insurance.

If you can help in any way, please visit their GoFundMe page.

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