17-Year-Old Dies of COVID-19 After Hurricane Ida Delays Hospital Visit

·2 min read
Christopher Matherne
Christopher Matherne

Gofundme

A Louisiana teen died of COVID-19 complications after he was unable to travel to a hospital quickly due to damage caused by Hurricane Ida.

Christopher Matherne, 17, died Friday after battling complications caused by COVID-19 for a month at Children's Hospital in New Orleans, according to his obituary. The teen, who lived in Houma, Louisiana, with his family, first contracted the virus in August, according to a GoFundMe page created to raise money for his funeral expenses.

Lesley Crochet, who organized the fundraiser on behalf of Christopher's mother, Kristi, wrote that the Mathernes did not evacuate their home before Ida hit Aug. 29 because Christopher was "not feeling quite up to par" at the time.

RELATED: 'Very Loving and Sweet' 6-Year-Old Boy in North Carolina Dies of COVID

After the storm hit, the family was unable to reach 911 with local phone lines down, and Kristi and Chris, Christopher's father, saw their son's health situation worsen, they told local outlet WDSU.

"We were scared we were going to lose him on the sofa," Kristi said.

Five days after the hurricane, Christopher's parents were able to contact 911 and their son was rushed to Thibodaux Regional Medical Center and later transferred to Children's Hospital in New Orleans, per WDSU.

Due to a drop in his oxygen levels, Christopher was placed on a BiPAP machine, and later a ventilator and an ECMO, which he was connected to for 24 days while in a medically induced coma, according to the GoFundMe page.

RELATED: Family Mourning After 10-Year-Old Girl Dies Just Days After Getting COVID: 'It's Not Fair'

After complications that affected his heart, lungs and liver, Christopher underwent 39 blood and platelet transfusions, per his GoFundMe. About a month after he was admitted to Children's Hospital, Christopher died.

His obituary describes him as "an astounding young man with many hidden talents" who loved gaming and ran an online store selling "custom merchandise."

"He had a lot of friends from around the world that he loved live streaming with. Christopher had a dry sense of humor and quick wit," the obituary continues. "He also enjoyed his family vacations to Disney World and the Smokey Mountains. Chris' life was short, but his spirit and memory will live in the hearts of those who loved him dearly."

Christopher's family also thanked his Children's Hospital medical team "for their continuous love, care, and compassion" in his obituary.

The money raised by GoFundMe will go toward Christopher's funeral expenses as well as repairs for the Mathernes' house, which was damaged in the hurricane, leaving them without a fence and a destroyed roof, per WDSU.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.