It was a few weeks ago when family members took 13-year-old Marquel Brumley to an urgent care clinic in Flint, Mich. He had been complaining of basic cold symptoms, and doctors told the family it was just a common viral infection and to let it “run its course,” reported WHEM. Less than a month later, he was dead.
Family members told WNEM that after his initial diagnosis, Marquel began having migraines. He went to one emergency room, then another, but nobody could say whether anything was wrong other than that the boy had developed nasty headaches.
One day, however, he came home with his eye swollen closed and a droopiness on the side of his face, WJRT reported.
That’s when his mother took him back to the hospital for good. Doctors performed an MRI and found terrible news: the boy’s sinus infection had spread into his brain and was causing serious blood clots which led to multiple strokes, according to a GoFundMe page set up for Marquel’s medical expenses.
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He was taken into surgery and stayed in a coma for a few days - but it didn’t help.
“Unfortunately, it takes a long time to get blood clots to shrink and the blood clots were putting too much pressure on the brain and he couldn't get proper oxygen to his brain,” his aunt Nicole Alexander told WJRT. Marquel died about four weeks after first complaining of sickness.
“Marquel went home to be with the Lord this morning,” an update to the GoFundMe page read Monday. “Please also continue to pray for the family to have strength through this difficult time.”
What happened to Marquel is rare, but it does happen.
Sinus infections can cause a condition called sinusitis, which means an inflammation of small pockets of air in the skull.
Usually, people fight these infections like any other, and usually spontaneously get better after about a week.
But sometimes things do go wrong. The infection is already extremely close to the brain, and can sometimes penetrate the thin bone and attack the central nervous system.
This can lead to meningitis (an infection of the meninges), encephalitis (an infection of the brain) and a brain abscess, or a collection of infected material that gathers in the brain, according to the Mayo Clinic. All of these can be deadly.
For the family, however, this was not a rare possibility but a real tragedy - and one they’re still coming to grips with.
“He was my favorite person. Now he's not gonna be here anymore,” Alexandria, Marquel's sister, told WNEM. “I feel like it's not real. I feel like he's gonna come back. But I know he's not gonna come back.”