According to a heart-wrenching GoFundMe page established by his mother, J'Lenne Hardaway, Michael's condition quickly deteriorated after he was admitted to the hospital with septic shock. Within a day, he was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) and put on a ventilator as his organs started failing. The situation was so dire that the hospital urged J'Lenne to reach out to family members scattered across the US to say their final goodbyes.
In a startling turn of events, it was discovered that Michael had contracted a rare Victorian disease known as Typhus from the flea bite. This disease, historically infamous for its lethality, was responsible for more French soldier deaths than the actual Russians during Napoleon's disastrous retreat from Moscow in 1812.
Despite a valiant fight, Michael battled the infection for about 11 days with various medications. Unfortunately, during this time, he developed dry gangrene in his hands and feet. Drastic measures were required to save his life – his hands were amputated up to the forearms, and portions of his feet were removed.
In the face of this medical crisis, the GoFundMe page was established to cope with the colossal healthcare expenses that now burden Michael's family. As a result of overwhelming support, the fundraiser has already accumulated a staggering £53,000, with a target goal of £280,000.
J'Lenne Hardaway, in an emotional expression of her son's character, described Michael as an intelligent and humorous individual who spread joy wherever he went.
J'Lenne lovingly described her son Michael as a bright and humorous individual, always spreading joy to everyone around him. He possesses an insatiable curiosity about the world, constantly seeking knowledge and asking thought-provoking questions. Living in Houston, Michael devoted his time as a full-time volunteer and also worked part-time as a handyman and pet sitter. Unfortunately, he did not have any health coverage at the time of the unfortunate incident.
The origins of the flea bite remain a mystery. The GoFundMe page clarified that it is uncertain when or how Michael was bitten, only that the consequences were devastating.
The incident has also shed light on the healthcare system in the US, where medical expenses can be overwhelming for families. In Michael's case, the necessity for an extensive fundraiser underscores the importance of accessible and affordable healthcare.
Typhus, the deadly disease Michael contracted, is typically transmitted by lice, fleas, or mites, according to the NHS. While rare in the UK, most individuals diagnosed with Typhus recover successfully with prompt treatment.
The symptoms of the infection include a severe headache, high fever, dry cough, diarrhea, and vomiting. The severity of these symptoms highlights the urgent need for medical attention in cases of potential Typhus infections.
This unfortunate incident serves as a somber reminder of the potential risks associated with seemingly insignificant insect bites and the importance of early detection and treatment of rare diseases. As Michael's family navigates this challenging time, the outpouring of support from people worldwide offers hope for his recovery and a call to action for better healthcare access for all.