The mother of a San Diego-area teenager fighting for his life against a flesh-eating bacteria thanked the community Tuesday for their support, saying the family was overwhelmed with the outpouring of love.
"You really don't realize what an impact you have on people's lives until you go through something major like this," mother Silvia Gil said. "And it's just amazing how we were overwhelmed by the outpour of love and support with family and friends."
Giancarlo Gil, 14, a Chula Vista High School freshman has undergone more than 11 surgeries at Rady Children's Hospital after complaining of pain in his calf Saturday, Sept. 26 after playing baseball. His condition quickly changed and Gil was taken to urgent care and then to the emergency room.
Only once he was admitted and authorities treated him for shock and other immediate issues did doctors realize the extent of the swelling and injury to his tissue.
John Bradley, a Pediatric Infectious Disease doctor, said the teen contracted a strain of Group A Strep that ate through his tissues and destroyed blood vessels and nerves.
"Unlike regular strep, which just causes local inflammation, the flesh eating strep that was the cause of his infection, just ate through the tissues destroying blood vessels and nerves, allowing the strep to spread very, very quickly," said Bradley.
Surgeons performed a series of surgeries on the young teen, taking out only what they needed to take out, but at one point, two orthopedic surgeons discovered all of the muscle in his lower leg had died.
Doctors originally amputated the teen's leg to the knee and then days later the leg had to be amputated all the way up to his groin.
Throughout the entire process, Gil said the family has leaned on their faith and the overwhelming support of their family and friends.
"It's been a rough two months, needless to say. That's definite," she said. "But definitely we want to thank God, first and foremost. We are family of faith, and we know that our faith is the one thing that has truly sustained us throughout this whole ordeal."
Though the Giancarlo has been in the hospital for two months, his mother says it's "seemed like we've been here for two years."
She is thankful for everyone that has gone to donate blood for Giancarlo while he was losing a lot of blood, for those that offered prayers and for those that offered their love and support.
"It's just amazing to look back and to see how quickly my son has truly recovered. It's unbelievable," the mother said.
"I can never say thank you enough," she said.
Bradley said the parents did the right thing, bringing him into the ER.
"I told mom and dad if they had waited even six hours more, he would have died," Bradley said.