The night of Nov. 19, Golden Valley High School student Jesus Ortiz was at home when it happened.
He suddenly experienced a severe headache, began to vomit and fell unconscious, to the horror of his mother Amzi Salinas.
Salinas said Jesus, a studious and easygoing 16-year-old, had just celebrated his birthday days earlier when he had to be hospitalized for a stroke.
Now, doctors are saying Jesus may not be the same, if he even survives the aftermath.
Jesus was in a coma at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center in Los Angeles, and has since awakened. However, he has suffered extensive brain damage, Salinas said. To take care of his recovery, the family is asking for donations to their GoFundMe page to help with the hospital expenses.
“Lots of costs are coming our way, because of clinics and therapy and transfers,” Salinas said in Spanish on Thursday. “Our son’s condition is our No. 1 priority and we have two other small kids, 4.5 years old and 1 year old, who we want to take care of.”
Salinas said her husband is the only one working full-time since she quit to take care of Jesus. Previously the two parents were also Uber drivers to take care of the financial gaps.
If Jesus recovers, progress will be slow, she said. Doctors do not know if he will be able to independently talk or move yet.
“I felt devastated when I heard that my son was in a coma and now has brain failure,” she said. “Not knowing what will happen is the scariest part of it all. There are no words. My husband and I are doing what we can.”
Salinas said Jesus is out of a coma, but cannot speak or move. He spends most of his time sleeping and is unresponsive when awake, mostly just opening his eyes. Doctors are unsure if he can recognize his family.
“We think he can, because he squeezes our hands when we have spoken to him,” she said. “Doctors can’t do much anymore now, medically. It depends mostly on him.”
On Saturday, Jesus will go into surgery to get his stomach drained and put in a permanent tube. In two more weeks, he will undergo surgery to remove blood clots and repair burst veins.
“We are asking for economic health to offer him a better and safer environment at home,” Salinas said. “Like buying a new bed that can allow us to adjust and transfer him properly. A wheelchair for him to move around, diapers for special needs. We don’t know how much the costs will be yet.”
The Ortiz family does not speak English very well, but Salinas said she hopes her message can still go out to the community.
“I do not lose hope that my son will recover,” she wrote on the GoFundMe page. “If you can not help me financially with something, do not feel bad. I only ask you to raise a small prayer to God and ask for my son Jesus to recover. You can also help by sharing this campaign with your friends to see if they can help. Thank you for your prayers and blessings.”
The GoFundMe page is available at www.gofundme.com/come-back-with-us-jesusito-jesus-ortiz-salinas.
Additional reporting by Tammy Murga