Dad's sore throat puts him in a coma, needs multiple amputations to survive

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Doctors said they were surprised to see someone sick for so long survive.

There’s bacteria everywhere – but only a few are actually very harmful. Even so, we worry a lot about our kids catching severe infections. In the process, are we neglecting our own health though? One recent bacterial infection in men – particularly a dad – saw him having a sore throat. But it soon turned into a life-or-death nightmare.

Dad’s sore throat turns out to be two dangerous bacterial infections

A supposedly innocent sore throat turned to a nightmarish, deadly experience for one Australian dad, who even had to have his hands and legs amputated to stop the infection spreading.

At first, 48-year-old Jason Miller, a ferry operator and single dad, got sick with a sore throat on a flight back home, from the Philippines where he was holidaying. 

However, his illness intensified quickly, and Mr Miller was hospitalised on the 31st October 2018.

Medical staff who ran tests on him discovered he was infected by two types of bacteria – streptococcus and aerococcus.

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Bacterial infection in men: Mr Miller had to be hooked to machines to keep him alive when he slipped into a coma. | Image Source: Daily Telegraph

According to Ms Kate Munn, Mr Miller’s sister-in-law, Aerococcus infections are exceptionally rare. Even the Intensive Care Unit specialist caring for Mr Miller, who boasted over 20 years of experience, had never seen such a case, continues Munn.

A single infection alone is dangerous enough – but two infections in unison swiftly ruined Mr Miller’s immune system.

Medical professionals couldn’t confidently establish how the dad got his illness. 

Medical professionals informed Mr Miller’s family that his condition was critical. Apparently, in that short span of time, he suffered from severe septic shock, multiple organ failure, toxic shock syndrome, and gangrene.

According to Ms Munn, “There simply wasn’t enough blood being pushed to his extremities. His kidneys and liver had shut down. His hands, feet, nose and lips had turned black.”

Eventually, doctors told Mr Miller’s family that his odds of surviving was smaller than 10 percent. Jhayda, his daughter, aged 7, was shown into his ward to bid farewell. 

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Bacterial infection in men: Mr Miller (right), with his daughter, Jhayda, aged 7 (left), before he contracted the life threatening infection. | Image Source: Daily Telegraph

However, in nothing short of a miracle, Mr Miller survived.

He spent roughly one week in a state of induced coma. Fortunately, he regained consciousness on 7th November. On the 10th November, he drew breath without breathing support machines.

Later, doctors asserted that amputating both Mr Miller’s hands and feet was necessary to prevent the infection from spreading. 

Mr Miller’s family communicated with him using an alphabet board when he was still hooked to machines. 

After enduring through the worst, Mr Miller can currently sit straight in bed, chuckle and joke in his family’s company.

What conditions did Jason suffer from?

Toxic shock syndrome

This condition doesn’t usually happen, but it can be fatal. Toxic shock syndrome can result when some types of bacteria infect your body. The common culprits are bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus and Group A Streptococcus, which make toxins that causes the devastating condition.

Here are some red flags of toxic shock syndrome:

  • getting a hot fever abruptly
  • having low blood pressure 
  • vomiting or having liquid stools
  • a rash that looks like sunburn – especially if it’s on the palms and soles
  • being confused 
  • aching muscles 
  • having reddened eyes, mouth and throat
  • experiencing a seizure
  • having headaches

Immediately inform a doctor if you or someone else appears to have toxic shock syndrome – be it at hospital or at home.

Gangrene

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Bacterial infection in men: Mr Miller’s black lips and hands are signs of gangrene. | Image Source: Daily Telegraph

This condition usually happens when your body tissues die because there isn’t enough blood supplied there or because of a deadly bacterial infection. Most of the time, the body’s extremities -like the toes, fingers and limbs – develop gangrene. However, muscles and organs inside your body can also develop gangrene when they die.

Medical professionals treat gangrene by operating on them to remove dead tissue, or by giving patients  antibiotics and oxygen therapy. People who are diagnosed with gangrene and given swift treatment often recover better. 

Sepsis

Unlike the conditions above, sepsis, a possibly fatal condition, happens because of the immune system’s response to an infection. Usually, your body sends chemicals into your bloodstream so that your immune system can combat an infection. Sepsis happens when your body sends an imbalanced cocktail of chemicals — leading to changes which may injure multiple organ systems.

At times, sepsis can develop into septic shock, causing blood pressure to plunge, and possibly death. 

The usual cause of sepsis is infection, and it affects everyone. However, it is much more serious in:

  • Senior citizens
  • Expecting mums
  • Babies under a year old
  • patients who have suffered long term diseases like diabetes, kidney or lung disease, or cancer
  • individuals with weak immune systems

The only way to get better from sepsis is getting treated as soon as possible. Doctors usually provide antibiotics and massive volumes of intravenous fluids which help to keep patient to survive the condition.

Parents, we hope this article about bacterial infection in men has been informative. If you liked this article, do share your thoughts below or share the article on social media!

References: Straits Times, MayoClinic (Toxic Shock Syndrome, Sepsis, Gangrene)

Also Read:

Baby gets food poisoning from sushi rice, mum warns other parents

Bacterial vaginosis: What mums-to-be need to know about this pregnancy infection

How can you tell if your child’s sore throat might already be a bacterial infection?

Does my child have strep infection?

Your kid’s sore throat: What you need to know

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