Extra life: Two hours a day playing Xbox games ‘saves’ Bolton boy from deadly infection

A Bolton boy who was given only hours to live after contracting a deadly bacterial infection has miraculously survived – thanks to playing Xbox games in hospital.

Macenzie Campbell thought he had a blister on his right-foot but this soon developed into the deadly Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Left untreated for a further six hours the infection, which released poisonous toxins into the blood stream, would have been fatal.

But surgeons saved the youngster’s life by removing infected tissue from his foot although they warned his family he may not survive the ordeal.

The year-seven pupil was aided in his recovery by playing up to two hours of Fifa 14 on an Xbox every day to take his mind off the treatment at the Royal Bolton Hospital.

Amazingly, Macenzie was discharged just six days later and is now back at Smithills School and has already begun an appeal to ensure poorly youngsters have better access to Xbox games at the hospital.

“It was terrifying,” said Macenzie.

“I wasn’t only scared for myself, I was scared for my family. It had seemed like a normal blister, but I gradually started to feel worse and worse.

“I felt sick, everything was blurry and my heart was racing. I didn’t know what was going on. But the staff were amazing and always explained things so I understood my illness and treatment.

“The Xbox really kept my mind off everything. It was quite painful when they put the drips in me so it was nice to have something else to think about.

“At one stage I thought I was going to die but the Xbox made me calmer but I felt bad for the other kids who couldn’t use it. Now I want to give something back to say thank-you.”

His mother Joanne, 38, believes that being able to play the technology saved his life.

“I believe the Xbox helped save my son,” she said.

“I know the doctors did the operation which saved Macenzie’s life but the games gave him some form of escapism afterwards, calmed it down  and improved his recovery.

“After surgery there would be problems with drips and taking blood and he was poked and prodded all over whilst they did blood cultures  but the Xbox allowed him to escape feeling all that. It really did keep him going and reminded him of being at home.

“When we initially got to hospital they said he had septicaemia and that if we had waited six hours it would have been a very different outcome  he would have died.

“It was terrifying and I was astonished it escalated so fast. I just thought it was a blister.”

Fifa 14 was one of the only games available on the eight-patient-ward and Manchester City fan Macenzie has now contacted local businesses with the aim of getting donations for more Xbox games on paediatric hospital wards.

Joanne said: “He is a keen footballer so playing Fifa might have reminded him of being active – something which he wasn’t at that time.

“He has an Xbox at home and he plays Fifa with his friends all the time. He probably plays a few hours a day. Obviously they only had one on this ward so you could only play for a couple of hours so as soon as he felt a little better Macenzie said ‘I really want to do something to help out’.”

The drama occurred after Macenzie had complained of a blister from not wearing socks with his shoes and was rushed to hospital on April 14 after complaining of stiffness, swollen ankles, fever and a foot ‘the size of a golf ball’.

“I kept saying to him ‘I am going take you to the doctor’,” said Joanne.

“He just kept saying ‘No, no I don’t want to go’. During the next day and a half he got feverish.”

Macenzie began to struggle with movements such as stretching his arms and standing up as well as suffering from a fever before eventually being placed in hospital on antibiotics.

“Once in the hospital he was given incredibly strong antibiotics,” said Joanna.

“They couldn’t send him straight for surgery because the toxins were still poisoning him and the operation would be too dangerous. When they did operate they cut out all the infected area on this ankle.

“At this point I thought the worst. I called my mum and the rest of the family because he was very very poorly and I did not think he was going to make it. The doctors looked shocked when he came in, they were in and out of his room.”

Now that Macenzie has been released and is looking to make a difference to other patients, his mother is grateful to the staff at the hospital for their efforts.

“They looked after him so well in hospital,” added Joanne.

“I can’t fault them in any way. Macenzie really appreciated what they did for him and he wanted to help get some more Xbox’s for the children, because it helped him so much.

“He came up with the idea completely by himself. He has been recovering so hasn’t had the chance to contact anyone yet but his aim is to appeal to businesses and games stores in the area to see if anything comes from that.”

Story via Cavendish Press.

Image courtesy of Shaun Greiner, with thanks

Related Articles