The Reality of Nasal Cripple Syndrome

( – There are many diseases and afflictions out there, some so rare that few people have heard of them. That’s the case with empty nose syndrome (ENS), a condition that can make you feel as though you’re not breathing. It is an uncommon complication that stems from nasal surgery. One family is seeking to raise awareness after losing their son following complications that led to his suicide.

Chris Supalla was suffering from what seemed like a constant stuffy nose, which led to his doctors suggesting he have nasal surgery. He was worried about the possibility of ENS, a complication that he had looked up prior to undergoing the knife. According to the New York Post, doctors assured him that while they were familiar with the condition, they hadn’t experienced it. So he went through with it. Three months later, he was dead.

Supalla’s parents said his symptoms — which can include headaches, dizziness, trouble breathing, nosebleeds, pain, and more — kept him from experiencing any quality of life. The condition is linked to an increase in mental health issues, including anxiety, distractability, irritability, and trouble concentrating. Many who have the condition can attest.

David Troutman, who hails from Indiana and had turbinate reduction surgery to help with sleep apnea, said he trusted his physician but ended up with the condition anyway. From there, he went through such a dramatic change that his boss ended up taking him to the emergency room to seek help. Troutman now moderates a Facebook group with the intention of helping others and said it’s full of “difficult stories to read.”

Supalla could no longer take the pain of the condition, and in 2021, he hung himself. He left a note for his parents, saying he was “so sorry to leave this way, but the suffering was too great.”

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, know there is help out there. Visit the or call 988. 

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