17-year old Sebastian Stewart will be undergoing an experimental surgery at Vancouver General Hospital this week after contracting a serious viral infection that required a medical evacuation from Terrace on April 25. (Contributed photo)

Terrace teen on life support after contracting serious viral infection

Sebastian Stewart was medically evacuated to Vancouver General Hospital on April 25

A Terrace teen is fighting for his life in a Vancouver hospital bed this week following the onset of a bizarre series of infections.

Seventeen-year-old Sebastian Downing was admitted to Vancouver General Hospital April 25 when doctors placed him on airborne isolation for one week and listed him as the “sickest person in the province,” said his mother, Corrine Stewart.

“[Doctors] don’t know how it all happened, it’s just a fluke that all four things decided to invade his body at once,” Corrine said over the phone.

“He still has pneumonia … he had staph infection, influenza B,” she said. “And everything had gone into septic shock, so he has sepsis as well. We think that everything except for his heart and his brain is still a mess.”

Sebastian initially went into the hospital in Terrace on April 24 for cold and flu symptoms that had caused his breathing to become very shallow, according to Corrine. It was then that doctors discovered his condition was much more serious and had spiralled into such a dire condition that his mother could not fly alongside him when he was medically evacuated to Vancouver the next day.

As of now, he remains on full-life support with his mother by his side.

“He is stable, they’re still trying to fight a little bit of the infection,” Corrine said. “His right lung is very deteriorated and his left lung has joined in the pack with it, so they’re trying to stop the infection from causing more and more damage so that he doesn’t become unable of using his own lungs.”

Doctors went in with a stethoscope on May 17 to map out the remaining holes in his lungs in preparation for an experimental surgery aimed at trying to seal them off this week. The procedure has been done only four or five times before, Corrine was told, and required equipment to be sent to Vancouver General specifically for Sebastian’s surgery.

At the moment Corrine said doctors aren’t sure whether or not Sebastian may be able to live on his own if he survives this ordeal, but that “one day at a time” is all they’re focused on.

“That’s the biggest thing, there is no reason why a 17-year old should be given up on, he has his entire life,” she said. “So they’re trying everything in their power to keep him alive. To give him a better life.”

Corrine is currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver while Sebastian’s father stays at home in Terrace to look after their youngest son. Both parents are forced to miss work to be with their children.

Sebastian is a student at Caledonia Secondary School and was scheduled to start dual-college credit courses at Northwest Community College (NWCC) this August.

Friends have set up a GoFundMe page called “17 yr old Sebastian is fighting!” to help with the expenses and lost income.



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