Wis. Teen Loses Parts of Legs, Hands to Beat Deadly Disease

A 15-year-old Wisconsin teen has battled back from a rare disease that almost took his life nearly a year ago, it is reported by the Portage Daily Register.

In March of last year, Zachary Reetz, an eighth-grader at the time, was struck with a rare disease called meningococcemia, an infection in the bloodstream caused by Neisseria meningitidis, a type of bacterial meningitis, according to the report.

The illness can be deadly if not treated quickly.

By the time Reetz arrived at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, doctors thought he might not make it, the report said.

"I think that most of the people that saw him thought that he had a good chance of dying," Dr. Michael Chusid, medical director of the Infectious Disease program at Children's Hospital, told the Daily Register. "He was about as sick as we see patients come in and make it."

Doctors removed both of Reetz's legs below his knees and parts of both his hands. Reetz returned to school full-time in January. He is undergoing physical therapy and learning to walk on artificial legs and use his artificial right hand, it is reported. Reetz faces several more surgeries for his left hand and treatments for scars.

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