Nashville, Tennessee, Nashville Memorial Hospital, July 20, 2011~
Louie Sandusky here. Am currently on my break now; on break for an hour. Need it; it's been a rough one today.
Am working in the Medical/Surgical ICU and am dealing with a man who was brought in last night with a rare and deadly bacterial infection. Necrotizing fasciitis, or "flesh-eating disease". It's nasty, and once you've dealt with someone who has it, you're likely not to forget it for a very long time to come.
The man in question accidentally banged his leg on the corner of the dresser in his bedroom. He didn't think too much about it until yesterday morning when he started running a high fever and started experiencing severe, unrelenting pain up and down his leg. When he looked at it, he was shocked to find it red, swollen, and extremely tender to the touch. His wife got concerned, so she brought him here to the hospital, where he was then immediately admitted.
He's already had one surgery; he may need another if the infection keeps up at its current pace. Every hour, on the hour, doctors check the progress of the infection; if it gets above his knee, he's headed back to surgery. He is currently in very critical condition and doctors have him knocked out colder than a flattened flounder.
Anyone dealing with this man has to gown up: surgical cap, mask, gown, gloves, the whole nine yards. Anyone who touches him has to wash their hands thoroughly for at least twenty seconds or more, and they must not be sick, coughing, or sneezing around the patient, since he is already severely compromized as it is. If he even survives the illness, it will be a genuine miracle.
Necrotizing fasiciitis is nothing to mess around with. I know. I've dealt with it more than once, more times than I'd like to personally admit.
The doctors in charge have been keeping the family informed regarding the latest information about their stricken family member; so far, the news has not been at all good. I have been praying for the family and especially the man who is currently so sick in our Medical/Surgical ICU. I am trying to be encouraging, but when I see the sluggish vital signs of the patient, it's enough to make my heart fall clear down to my toes.
If he doesn't end up having any more surgery on his leg, I will be highly surprised. The same applies if he doesn' t end up losing his leg. I know the situation is out of my hands, but I would like to see a far better outcome for the patient.
~Louisiana M. Sandusky, R.N.