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Treasure Valley doctor and patient featured on Animal Planet show

High school football player gets strange illness
Posted at 6:20 PM, Oct 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-20 21:22:31-04

"When he came in, he had all the looks of death on him," said Dr. Dauplaise, St. Luke's Pediatric Critical Care Physician.

Near the end of 2013, a Kuna High School football player was in the middle of his junior year looking forward to finishing the season. He had to be hospitalized to have his appendix removed and was sent home to recover.

That didn't happen though. About a month later, he got a strep infection.

He had to be rushed to St. Luke's in downtown Boise when he started blacking out.

"I don't really remember a lot about the night going in. It was kind of like a terrible nightmare," said Elijah Minnick, former Kuna High School football player.

Elijah had septic shock and he was sick as they come.

"He was completely purple and so when he came in, he was in complete multi-system organ failure," said Dr. Dauplaise.

That night Dr. Dauplaise didn't know if Elijah would make it. He says he sees septic shock frequently in the pediatric intensive care unit, but Elijah’s case was extremely severe.

Dr. Dauplaise says when Elijah had his appendix removed; his body used his mature immune cells to fight the infection.

"Normally that wouldn't be a problem but for him for some reason, he was left vulnerable and it was just a series of right events for him, with his bodies response, this type of infection and the history he had prior to set him up for this," said Dr. Dauplaise.

Elijah was in a coma for several weeks while he was on a ventilator and dialysis. 

"As a seventeen year old, you don't really think about dying you know, and for me to go through that experience at such a young age, I realized how precious life is," said Minnick.

Elijah did make a full recovery but he says it's because of his faith, family, and Dr. Dauplaise that he is alive today.