The second of two Manatee County teens who contracted Ciguatera fish poisoning while on a fishing trip in the Bahamas has returned home.
Austin Goncalves, 15, spent the last month in a Miami hospital. He suffered from a coma, seizures, and non-stop vomiting due to eating reef fish that contained the poison while in the Bahamas.
Austin, his mother and two friends all got sick. But for Austin, it nearly killed him.
“I was having seizures and I was in a coma for five days,” Austin said.
Since his return to his Bradenton home, he has to take medication daily to fight uncontrollable tremors. Austin has also lost 30 pounds, going from about 150 pounds down to about 120.
“One morning I woke up and I was just vomiting, I couldn’t stop," said Austin. "I was dehydrated.”
Austin’s mother, Karen Goncalves, who was also hospitalized with Ciguatera poisoning, said things have been scary.
“A nightmare," said Karen. "And you think you are going to wake up, and then you realize no, this is really happening. Were going through this.”
Another nightmare the Goncalves face is the well over $30,000 in medical bills.
To help out the Goncalveses, nearly every business on Bridge Street on Anna Maria Island helped throw a benefit Saturday. Hundreds of community members like Rob Frederick donated money.
“It means a lot for us to be here just so that we can give some kind of assistance to help him,” said Frederick.
The Manatee Twisters softball team also pitched in.
“We're selling all baked goods," said teammate Jocelyn Leal. "Like brownies and cupcakes and cookies.” “You never realize how much people care or how much the community can come together for a cause until something actually happens,” said Austin.
Doctors say Austin is expected to make a full recovery.