DARWIN, MN Patrick Ecklund, of Darwin, began struggling with chest pain last November. In the ensuing months, he has been continually hospitalized, and fighting serious side effects and a life-threatening infection.
A benefit to help the Ecklund family with medical expenses is scheduled to take place at Peace Lutheran Church, 400 Franklin Street SW, in Hutchinson, Sunday, Feb. 16 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
How it began
The first week of November 2019, Patrick began having pain in his chest when he ate. He was diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), put on medicine, and told to change his diet.
Over the next week and a half, Patrick’s chest pain decreased. He couldn’t have known that the chest pain was due to a perforated esophagus.
It is believed that Patrick began to feel better because the perforation started to heal.
At the same time, a life-threatening infection had started to grow.
Patrick began feeling ill Nov. 18, about halfway through his workday. He decided to tough it out the rest of the day. When he got home, his whole body hurt, and he had a temperature 102.5 degrees. He thought he had the flu.
Patrick woke the next day with a temperature of 104 degrees. He called in sick to work.
Patrick stayed in bed, sleeping all day. During the night, the pain in his chest got so bad he couldn’t sleep. He felt short of breath. He tried to sleep sitting on the couch.
His aunt took him to urgent care about 9 a.m. Nov. 20.
The triage nurse took his vitals, and determined his heart rate was 180 to 200 beats per minute, which put him at a very high risk for stroke.
Problem found, fight continues
They moved him to the emergency room. A CT scan gave the doctors a clue. It revealed there was inflammation and air around Patrick’s heart.
The doctor said the only way air could have gotten there was if his esophagus had been perforated.
Patrick underwent an endoscopy at Hennepin County Medical Center Nov. 21. A stent was placed in his esophagus to keep the perforation from leaking.
The next day, Patrick had 390 ccs of fluid removed from his chest.
He was kept in the intensive care unit (ICU) until Nov. 26. His condition began deteriorating.
Patrick needed oxygen, and his temperature began climbing.
A CT scan Nov. 27 told the doctors that the stent slid down on top of Patrick’s stomach, and that fluid was building up in his chest again. He needed surgery.
They performed a VATS-decortication-mediatinal drainage with thoracotomy. In simpler terms, the surgeons cut him open, going in on the right side between two ribs, cleaned out an abscess, and placed four chest tubes. He was then placed back in the ICU.
The gastrointestinal (GI) doctor was available to remove the stent on top of his stomach Nov. 29.
Through a CT scan with contrast, the medical team decided he no longer needed the stent.
He was moved back to a regular hospital room Nov. 30.
During this ordeal, Patrick was unable to eat or get out of bed. He lost 30 pounds, and was very weak.
Two of the four chest tubes were removed Dec. 6. He was finally cleared to eat 10 grams of fat, real food. Prior to this, he was allowed to eat only broth and Jell-O.
The last two chest tubes were removed Dec. 9. Patrick was sent home.
Home, then back to hospital
Patrick had his first follow- up appointment Dec. 19. He had been running a low temperature since returning home.
The previous two mornings, he had trouble with his breathing, and his fever spiked to more than 101 degrees.
It was discovered Patrick’s oral antibiotics were not strong enough to fight his infection, so doctors gave him IV antibiotics.
A nurse came to Patrick’s home daily to administer his IV antibiotics.
Complications sent Patrick back to the hospital Jan. 8.
A chance for all to help
The upcoming benefit will help Patrick’s family with medical expenses.
The event will feature a chili feed, a bake sale, and a silent auction. A complete HVAC system with labor and installation from Plumbing and Heating by Craig will be the big raffle/auction item. Raffle prizes of $500, $300, and $200 cash are also up for grabs. Raffle tickets are available at Plumbing and Heating by Craig in Hutchinson, from family members, or by contacting Dan at email@example.com or 320-583-9534.
A freewill offering will be taken at the event. Donations may also be made at www.gofundme.com/f/patrick-ecklund-benefit.
All proceeds from the benefit and gofundme site will go to support Patrick and his ongoing medical expenses.
Patrick and his family shared that they are grateful for continued prayers and support.