Dad given 4% chance of survival and declared brain dead after pulling out ingrown hair

A dad was declared brain dead by medics and given just a four percent chance of survival after developing a deadly condition caused by an ingrown hair. Steven Spinale, from the US, was diagnosed with sepsis after getting an infection when he attempted to remove an ingrown hair in his groin area.

According to details posted to a GoFundMe page as well as a TikTok page, Steven was left fighting for his life in 2022 due to blood poisoning. He was placed in a medically-induced coma and underwent open heart surgery in order to survive.

Sepsis occurs when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. It can damage the body’s tissues and organs and can be life-threatening.

His sister Michelle, recounted how Steven developed the condition after trying to remove an ingrown hair in his leg, which then became infected. Steven was ill for a month before finally being admitted to hospital.

In a TikTok video, she said: “He was turned away at numerous hospitals [who thought] he was making it up. He started vomiting blood and they still sent him home.

“The next day, my sister had to call 911 because he couldn’t breathe.”

Once Steven was admitted, doctors were stumped by his symptoms and couldn’t work out what was causing them.

Writing on GoFundMe, Michelle said: “All they could figure out was he was bleeding internally from somewhere. Little did we know that would be the smallest worry.”

It was found that he had a rare bacteria in his bloodstream which was “shutting down all his organs”.

“He declined fast until he crashed and was put on life support,” she continued.

“He caught a rare bacteria that was ravaging through his body and shutting down all his organs.”

The bacteria had caused Steven’s body to go into septic shock. This is a life-threatening condition that happens when your blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level after an infection.

During this time he experienced a number of other serious issues including contracting flu, pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) that left his lungs unable to work.

Medics discovered that the septic bacterial infection had reached his heart and “destroyed it”,

The dad also suffered a “small stroke” but he couldn’t undergo surgery as his condition was too critical.

He was placed in a medically induced coma and Steven’s distraught family – including his wife, dad and sister – were told he had just a four percent chance of survival.

Stephen underwent open heart surgery to repair the sepsis-induced damage and had drains inserted into his chest to remove excess fluid.

Incredibly, after multiple treatments, he woke up from his coma after a month with no brain damage. He is now on the road to recovery.

“Steven has a long road ahead of him but he is steadily on his way,” on November 29, 2022 Michelle wrote.

“He is learning how to sit up on his own, which is amazing.”

Steven was released from hospital in a wheelchair but by the end of 2023 he was regaining the ability to walk.

“I still go back to when they told us Steven was brain dead and that we should take him off life support,” Michelle captioned the TikTok clip. “What a journey!”

If anyone displays any signs of sepsis they should be taken to A&E immediately or 999 should be called, the NHS says.

Symptoms can include:

  • Acting confused, slurred speech or not making sense
  • Blue, grey, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue – on brown or black skin, this may be easier to see on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet
  • A rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it, the same as meningitis
  • Difficulty breathing, breathlessness or breathing very fast.

The fundraiser for Steven and his family raised more than $8,000.

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