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Tragic Outcome: Autopsy Reveals 5-Year-Old Migrant Boy’s Death in Chicago Shelter Caused by Sepsis


In December, a 5-year-old boy who became sick at a Chicago migrant shelter passed away due to sepsis and a bacterial infection related to strep throat, as confirmed by the official autopsy report.

One doctor noted that the death could have been prevented, as the infection is highly treatable.

Jean Carlos “Jeremías” Martinez Rivero passed away from sepsis caused by streptococcus pyogenes. An infection, identified as the cause of strep throat and other serious illnesses, was determined by pathologists at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office in the report published on Thursday.

The factors that contributed to his passing included COVID-19, adenovirus, and rhinovirus.

After relocating to Chicago’s largest migrant shelter at 2241 S. Halsted St., the child passed away several weeks later. The shelter accommodates approximately 2,500 individuals, with half of them being children. Residents have expressed concerns about the rapid spread of illness in the area, attributing it to overcrowded conditions.

After his passing, shelter providers noticed a surge in migrants testing positive for strep and voiced concerns about the city’s inadequate healthcare services before his death.

The autopsy results have confirmed that the boy passed away due to an infectious disease, which goes against the previous statement made by Mayor Brandon Johnson’s office shortly after the death.

Last year, public health officials had issued warnings about a concerning increase in chickenpox cases among children in migrant shelters. Approximately 400 cases have been documented, with the majority occurring in migrant children.

Following Jean Carlos’ passing, Johnson’s office stated that there is no indication of a widespread issue at the shelter.

According to one doctor, the autopsy results for Jean Carlos showed a missed chance to potentially save his life.

It is quite uncommon for an infection to result in death so rapidly. After reading this, it seems like there was a chance that was overlooked. “He could have received life-saving care sooner,” stated the doctor, who preferred not to be named.

The doctor assured us that the infection is highly treatable from a medical standpoint.

Information gathered from the final days of the child’s life indicates that he appeared sick and did not receive medical attention during that period, as per a police report.

He had been experiencing a fever for a couple of days and had been mentioning pain in his left leg, as per the report.

The day before he passed away, his parents administered children’s Tylenol and a “green pill,” suspected to be ibuprofen.

Sepsis Unveiled in Autopsy, Highlighting Bacterial Overgrowth

Medical biotechnologist Sandrine Tossu, works on a microscope in her office at the department of research on tuberculosis of the National Hospital and University Center of Pneumo-Phthisiology of Cotonou Lazaret, Akpakpa Abokicodji Lagoon, on August 21, 2019.

On the day of his passing, the family departed the shelter in the morning and came back when Jean Carlos mentioned he wasn’t feeling well.

Upon their return to the shelter, the boy’s lips turned purple and his mother noticed his eyes rolling back as he fell unconscious in the washroom. Efforts were made to resuscitate him on a table close to the bathroom entrance while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

He passed away at Comer Children’s Hospital at 3:47 p.m., according to the autopsy report.

The most significant discovery from a microscopic examination is the extensive overgrowth of bacteria.

In the most severe instances, strep infections can progress to sepsis, which is described as a strong immune reaction of the body attacking its own organs, according to the report. “This may result in septic shock and significant organ dysfunction, particularly in children.”

When that occurs simultaneously with other “viral infections,” it “further heightens the risk of death,” as stated in the report.

The family of the 5-year-old has relocated from the Chicago shelter system to an apartment with the assistance of a GoFundMe. Dr. Evelyn Figueroa, along with other volunteers, mentioned that the family is uncertain about their next steps.

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