Patient Dies of 'Flesh-Eating Bacteria'

  1. GAINESVILLE, Ga. - A nursing home patient has died of an ailment commonly known as "flesh-eating bacteria," state health officials said Wednesday.

    The condition, called necrotizing fasciitis, is a skin infection caused by Group A streptococus. Another nursing home resident is hospitalized with strep A infection, said Richard Quartarone of the Georgia Division of Public Health.

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    About Brian, ADN

    Joined: Mar '98; Posts: 15,418; Likes: 16,398 founder; from US
    Specialty: 18+ year(s) of experience in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele


  3. by   littlefeet
    When I was a student in my second year I had a patient who got bitten by a spider and contracted "flesh eating disease" it was awful. It was so bad it looked like the skin was melting off his arm. I will never forget that sight or how bad I felt for him. They had to amputate his arm to prevent it spreading any further.
  4. by   renerian
    That is what my mom died of. Very fast and gruesome death unlike anything I had ever seen in my almost 20 years as a nurse.

  5. by   kids
    Ren, I agree, NF is a horrible infection, I had never seen (or smelled) anything like it until my mom had it and hope I never do again. I am sorry you lost your mom to it.

    My mom was one of the lucky people who contract it. A week after her cat bit her on the front of her shin the wound went from healing to NF overnight.

    At 9pm, before she went to work, I wrapped a dime sized scab on the front of her shin with Kerlex (so her scrubs wouldn't rub on it).
    At 6:30 the following morning it was 3", black, oozing and foul smelling.
    At 9am at the doctor's office it was 5".
    At 12:30 when they took her to surgery to debride it was 10" X8". I was told 12 more hours and she would have lost the leg, 24 and it would have been her life.

    The plan was to do skin grafts "a couple of weeks" after the debridement. Mom refused (she didn't want to go thru grafting), saying she was 70 and didn't care about having a pretty leg. The plastic surgeon told us it would *never* heal but invited us to try. She learned the value of NS wet to moist dressings QID when it was fully healed in 4 weeks.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    wow gruesome.
    I am sorry about your mom, Renarian.
  7. by   Shapeless
    I saw this once when I worked in theatres in london, the patient had nothing but a puncture wound in his grion......... As fast as the surgeons cut it away, the more it spread. You could see it developing in seconds along the skin and surrounding tissues. I was relieved the patient didn't make it in the end. Thier body was a total mess. I think the surgery caused the death in the end!

  8. by   Shapeless

    My condolancies and apologies, I hope my post has not disturbed you?
  9. by   renerian
    Thank you everyone for your kind words. I am glad to hear some people do survive it. She was black from her toes to her cheeks. Yep they could not get it off during surgery as it spread like wildfire. 20 units of platelets, 11 of blood, vent and then DIC and in 24 hours from a small cut on her leg from the garbage can. Swift.

    I was shellshocked.

  10. by   nightingale
    Oh Ren, I am so sorry.
  11. by   shodobe
    Where I work in the OR, I know of at least 3 patients over the years I have come into contact with have died from NF.We usually get them and take care of them until a hyperbaric bed becomes available at one of the bigger med centers. I have taken care of at least 4-5 others who have survived this. It is a total mess for the patients and very frustrating for the people taking care of them. You feel you are losing the battle everytime you see them. As you can see a patient can survive if they are in fairly good condition and have no underlying medical problems. Mike
  12. by   ARmickie
    My husband's nephew, who was only 23, died of complications from this type of bacteria in January. There were other complications stemming from a bout to leukemia and the radiation treatments that accompanied it when he was a child. According to his doctors, he had strep throat and it somehow mutated and moved down into his intestines. Within 24 hours, he had lost of all his small intestine. During the surgery, they discovered that the radiation had significantly damaged his liver, and he was sufferring from cirrohsis. Pneumonia added to the growing list of complications. It is a very sad story, and one that ended with a tragic ending. I can greatly sympathize with all who have lost family members to something so horrific. My nephew was attacked from inside his body, but almost bled to death before anyone could figure out the problem. In the end, it was the liver that actually killed him, but the bacteria had him knocking on deaths' door several times. After 45 days in intensive care, he told his family that he had seen God, and even asked for certain things at his funeral (songs, casket design, etc... ). He smiled and told everyone that it was okay.. he would be fine.. all the while projectile vomitting blood. This young man, and what he went through is what pushed me to finally go into nursing after thinking about it for years. I can only hope to make a difference in the life of one young person... perhaps in some small way give hope, save a life that would otherwise be taken by mistakes made along the way...
    Sorry to go on and on.. just got started on something that touches me and my family in a very real way that it seems few people touch on. Again, my sympathies to all who have experienced this.
  13. by   renerian
    Wow that is horribly sad story. I am so sorry for your loss.

  14. by   Tephra
    Hugs to {{{renerian}}} and {{{armickie}}}

    A brutal illness.