OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Nick Duvernay grew up in Ocean Springs. His family said he loved the water and was an avid diver, fishermen and spear fisher. Last Sunday, he spent the day on the water with his family. Duvernay's sister, Sarah Duvernay Montgomery, said she never imagined that day on the water would lead to his death.
"We all got to spend the day as a family and had a blast doing what he loved," Montgomery remembered. "He got to fish and spend time with my son, who was just his world. I'm really thankful that that was one of his last days because it was a great day."
Montgomery said her brother wasn't feeling well Sunday after getting off the boat. But he's suffered from back problems for years, and just thought it was the same old problem.
The next day, Monday, she said Duvernay began throwing up. Tuesday, he came down with a bad fever and was feeling dizzy. By Wednesday, Montgomery said her brother began having chest pains and could not breathe, so his fiancee rushed him to the hospital.
"At first they said congestive heart failure, because he had a lot of fluid on his belly and on his legs," Montgomery said. "He had problems with high blood pressure for a long time and he had left it untreated, unfortunately, so I believe his organs were already in a weakened state."
Doctors noticed Duvernay was having kidney failure and Montgomery said they admitted him to the ICU Wednesday night. Doctors drained some of the fluid from his stomach, but had to stop because his blood pressure was dropping too low.
Things continually got worse, according to Montgomery.
"His leg kept swelling and his leg actually started to burst open, the back of his leg," Montgomery explained. "They realized then they were dealing with something much scarier than they thought at first."
Montgomery said doctors told the family Duvernay's kidneys were shutting down and he had an infection in his blood. Thursday morning, Duvernay had surgery on his leg to try and remove the infection, but things continued to take a turn for the worst.
"We were told the worst case is he would pass or he might possibly lose his leg, but even then we weren't really thinking he was going to die from this," Montgomery said.
By 2pm Thursday, Montgomery said doctors advised the family that if anyone wanted to see Duvernay, they better come now. Duvernay began having liver failure, his respiratory system was shutting down, and he was on a ventilator.
Eight hours later, the family's worst nightmare came true when Nick Duvernay passed away.
Still in shock, Montgomery wants to warn everyone who swims in the Gulf of Mexico.
"If you are going to go out there and be in the water, just make sure you don't have any cuts on you, especially if you have a weaker immune system like Nick did from being sick," Montgomery said. "If you get cut out there, go in immediately. Don't let this go and hope for the best, because within four days my brother was dead."
Montgomery said her brother was very close with his family and had plans to tie the knot with his fiancee of five years this fall.
Wednesday on WLOX News, you'll hear from an Ocean Springs doctor about the bacteria and what you need to know to stay safe in our Gulf waters.