Most Read

News

Man Left In Coma For 10 Days After Earache Turns Into Life-Threatening Infection

SWNS

A DJ was given hours to live after he got blood clots in his brain and fell into a coma – all thanks to an earache.


Nick Sommons, 27, got an ear infection and was given drops to clear it up but it just got worse.

In just two weeks he had fallen into a coma and doctors pumped him full of antibiotics as they battled to find the cause of his illness and save his life.

Avid runner Nick was eventually diagnosed with Lemierre Syndrome - a rare infection that starts in the ear, throat or nose, and spreads to through the body.

Nick Sommons / SWNS

It was already at an advanced stage and had caused blood clots in his brain, prompting medics to give him an 8% chance of surviving.

But after ten days he pulled through, and after learning to walk again and is back DJ-ing.

Nick, from Kingston, Pennsylvania said:

"By the time I got to ER I was hours from dying. I could feel myself slipping away and could see the shocked look doctors gave me when they saw me. I could see the concern on their faces."
"My body was failing and I was in a real bad way. My neurosurgeon told me I had an 8% to 10% chance of surviving. I honestly can't believe how close I was to dying. I feel like I have been given a blessing and I have been given my body back."
"It's crazy to think about how it all started, just with earache and a sore throat. I thought I'd just get some tablets and it'd be sorted within a couple of weeks. It's kind of scary how these things happen."

Nick Sommons / SWNS

In October 2018 Nick was "living the dream" - traveling the country as a wedding and party DJ.

But in November 2018 the super-fit runner developed a sore throat and an earache in his left ear, but thought it would disappear on its own.

It didn't, and after a couple of days Nick's earache grew more painful and he went to see his doctor.

His eardrum had ruptured, affecting his balance, so his doctor prescribed a course of ear drops.

Nick Sommons / SWNS

They failed, and he developed dizziness, fatigue, and his right eardrum also became infected and ruptured.

He was prescribed a stronger course of steroids, but they also failed, and, two weeks after first going to the doctors, he was extremely unwell.

A concerned friend drove him to the hospital and Nick said he felt himself "slipping away" as the infection attacked his major organs.

Nick Sommons / SWNS

He said:

"I was at home and remember just wanting to sleep. I was turning yellow and breathing was getting hard. Just walking made it difficult for me to breathe."
"It was awful. It got to the point where I just wasn't getting any better and needed to go to the ER. I didn't realize how bad I was but I have since been told I was hours from dying. It's pretty scary."

Nick was given MRI scans, x-rays and blood tests at Geisinger Community Medical Center, but doctors could not figure out what was wrong.

He was rushed by ambulance to a specialist unit at Danville State Hospital and arrived unconscious and in a life and death situation.

Nick was put in a ten-day coma while medics pumped antibiotics into his body and searched to find the root cause of Nick's illness.

Nick Sommons / SWNS

It was during investigative surgery on his ears that doctors realized Nick was suffering with Lemierre Syndrome.

By this point the condition was already at an advanced stage and the infection had caused blood clots to develop on Nick's brain.

This posed a serious risk of Nick suffering with mental or physical disabilities if the clots cause parts of his brain to be starved of oxygen for too long.

Nick said:

"Lemierre Syndrome can be fatal and there was a very real chance I wouldn't make it. It's surreal how close I was to dying. The infection had attacked my brain and I had three clots."
"The doctors said they thought there would be no way I'd have a fully functional brain. They thought I'd have speech problems. It was likely I'd have a suppressed quality of life."

Nick said he felt "awful" when he woke up from the coma in ICU, and, over the next few days, had to learn how to walk again.

After being bed-bound for weeks the muscles in Nick's legs had atrophied and he had lost a lot of physical strength.

Nick Sommons / SWNS

Remarkably Nick was discharged from the hospital just six days after coming out of the coma, and, up until mid-January 2019, lived with relatives during his recovery.

By early Spring, Nick was almost back to full strength and set himself running goals.

Nick, who said he felt like he had been given a second chance at life, said:

"I used the experience to make me train harder. My goal was to become a faster runner. I want to inspire other people who have been told they could have died."
"It has made me realize how life is fleeting and anything can happen at any time. I am incredibly thankful and so humbled by how I am still able to train at a high level."

In the first six months after being in a coma Nick went on to run a series of races including a grueling Spartan race - a 5km assault course with 25 obstacles.

Nick Sommons / SWNS