NORTHVILLE, Mich. (WJBK) - The high school sophomore was just going on a normal camping trip. He wound up fighting for his life.
Dawn Pierz didn't know if her 15-year-old son, Connor, was going to survive. She wasn't alone: neither did his doctors.
"(He had a) life-threatening severe infection with mutiple organ failure" Dr. Nidal El-Wiher said.
The complex crisis started with a simple summer camping trip in August.
"He had gone camping by a lake, sitting by a campfire, he had jeans on but no shoes. He had mosquito bites all over his feet and he had scratched them and then the next day he was on a jet-ski on the lake with his friends. So the best theory is that bacteria entered his body through the mosquito bites that he had been scratching his feet," Dawn said.
"I remember laying on my couch, throwing up and like, mom tomorrow we're going to the doctor," Connor said.
Doctors quickly realize that he needs high-level help. Beaumont One is called into action and he is quickly transported to Beaumont Children's Hospital, part of the Children's Miracle Network.
The diagnosis? Sepsis, his body's overwhelming response to the infection. His organs are shutting down. The teen slipped into a coma and only a ventilator keeps him alive as infection-fighting antibiotics are pumped into his body.
After ten excruciating days, Connor wakes up, and to everyone's amazement, he's slowly starts to heal. That's when doctors make a seemingly strange request. Right after coming out of the coma, Connor is told he has to play video games, which turned out to be great for his body and mind.
"My hands were like balloons and then, just a day of playing XBox, you could tell, they were going back to normal. 3 days of XBox, my hands were normal again," Connor said.
Now, 2 months later, Connor is back at Beaumont Children's Hospital to say thank you to everyone, even Ava the therapy dog. Ava played a role in helping Connor heal. That, plus those video games and the high tech medical equiptment, is all part of what Children's Miracle Network provides.
Up to half of those who get sepsis will die. As Connor continues to gain his strength back, he knows that with a lot of help from the medical team, his family and his friends, he beat the odds.
"If it wasn't for them who knows where I'd be today," Connor said.