A Williams Lake teenager is in B.C. Children’s Hospital with ongoing complications from a routine bunion surgery done on March 17 of this year.
“It’s such a routine surgery and everything that could go wrong went wrong,” 17-year-old Kurtis Olson’s mom Kim Couture said from Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver Wednesday.
The bunion was about the size of a golf ball and a half and was causing Kurtis, who is slated to graduate from Lake City secondary this year, pain during kick boxing.
“He has competed at Nationals with Shogun Martial Arts and wanted to improve his kickboxing. That’s why he went for the surgery,” she said.
When his cast was removed eight weeks after the surgery, his foot did not look healed.
Another cast was put on Kurtis’s foot and when it was removed, they discovered he had an incubated infection and the flesh had eroded to the bone.
He went back to Children’s where he remained on a vacuum assisted closure (V.A.C.) system for eight weeks.
Kurtis returned to Williams Lake and was treated by the “amazing” wound care staff at Cariboo Memorial Hospital.
His foot appeared to be healing and, three weeks ago, Kurtis finally received the go-ahead from his plastic surgeon to take a shower for the first time in seven months.
Unfortunately, within a few days his foot had swollen up and he was experiencing excruciating pain.
He ended up back in the hospital in Williams Lake needing an antibiotics intravenous and, on Oct. 9, was readmitted to Children’s.
Since then he has had surgery to remove a centimetre of infected bone and most of the regrown tissue.
Last Monday they cut the whole top of his foot, but the corner of it started to go blue so they stopped the surgery, Couture said, noting he now has spacers between his skin and his flesh with suction on it and is not allowed to move.
“If the blood does not flow back, that area of his foot will die and we’ll be in another whole barrel of trouble,” Couture said, noting there is a chance he could lose his foot.
On Tuesday he developed an allergic reaction to the heavy duty antibiotics and his entire body broke out in hives.
Couture said the next surgery he will have, possibly on Monday, will be a bone graft and bone marrow transplant and skin will be taken from his hip to cover what was moved on his foot.
“It’s a big surgery and he’s going to be in lots of pain,” Couture said. “But like he said to me, ‘mom, I just want to feel a different pain that I know I’m going to heal and go home soon.'”
Couture normally drives a school bus for School District 27 and her husband has been working seven days a week during this time to support the family.
One of their friends has been taking care of their eight-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son when their dad is working.
As Couture spends her days and nights at the hospital she said like all the other parents she meets, it is the sense of helplessness that can be overwhelming sometimes.
“Not being able to do anything to make our children feel better or take any of this away is the most horrible feeling,” she said.
A friend of the family has created an online funding account for the family at https://www.gofundme.com/k76enzzq.