Playing 18 to battle sepsis

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Dr. Bradley Block, an ear, nose & throat specialist at Winthrop who also practices at ENT & Allergy Associates, and whom Patricia described as “very particular, very compassionate, very matter-of-fact,” successfully treated Sean’s infection with surgery, and later prescribed antibiotics to treat any remaining signs of his infection.

Though he suffered complications after his surgery — his lungs and kidneys began failing due to ineffective blood transfusions and three rounds of dialysis — Sean underwent a plasma exchange that raised his white blood cell count and quickly restored his bodily functions in his seventh day in intensive care.

After spending two weeks recovering at Winthrop, he came home, but continued physical therapy for four weeks while his second-grade teacher, Mariana Mills, tutored him for two hours a day before he returned to school.

“I think we both understood what this family went through, and to know that a family can turn such a difficult time to such a wonderful thing for the greater good of others, that for me was very fulfilling,” said Oceanside School #5 Principal Diane Provvido, who attended the dinner after the golf outing with Mills. “I couldn’t be any prouder of this little boy and this family — it’s just remarkable.”

After her son’s near-fatal illness, Patricia Hatzfeld organized the golf fundraiser — which was attended by, among others, Block, who hit one of the day’s longest drives, and Dr. Maria Lyn Quintos-Alagheband, associate director of pediatric critical care and physician quality officer at the Children’s Medical Center at Winthrop. Hatzfeld wanted to shed light on the early warning signs of the disorder — high fever, hemorrhagic rash, swelling at the site of an open wound, extremely low blood pressure and excessive vomiting — and to make parents aware that they should not hesitate to seek medical care if their children exhibit them.

She also said that she wanted to dispel popular myths about sepsis — that only elderly people who have been diagnosed with pneumonia, or paraplegics, like the actor Christopher Reeve, whose death was hastened by sepsis, are affected by the disease.

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