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Michigan Man’s Unusual Strep Throat Infection Leads To Amputation

First Posted: Mar 17, 2017 05:12 AM EDT
Strep Throat Leads To Quadruple Amputation For Kent Co. Man
An extremely rare case of strep throat that almost killed an Alto man has instead taken his hands and feet.
(Photo : WOOD-TV8/YouTube screenshot)

In Michigan, when Kevin Breen, aged 44, landed in the emergency room with mild pancreatitis in December, he did not think that it will lead to a series of procedures to have his hands and feet amputated. When he admitted himself to the hospital, what he had were seemingly ordinary stomach pains, after all.

However, in an interview with WOOD-TV, Kevin Breen shared that the infection did not seem unusual at the time. "I never thought [I'd be] going in for a stomachache and coming out a totally different person, and [it's] life-changing," he shared.

The 44-year-old father's blood test results came back negative for any infection. However, a CT scan soon revealed that his stomach was filled with pus, and his organs shut down one by one. Dr. Elizabeth Steensma, a surgeon at Spectrum Health Butterworth, told the radio station that Breen was among the sickest patients she ever took care of. She added that his condition was "almost a mystery."

Fox News reported that doctors redirected Kevin Breen's blood flow to save organs, but this cut off blood supply to his hands and feet. Eventually, a rash that indicated strep infection appeared on his torso. But by then, the penicillin administered was too late. The doctors had to amputate his limbs.

While there have been documented cases of strep infection traveling to a person's stomach, Dr. Steensma said that this is rare. This is so rare, in fact, that Kevin Breen's was only the second case ever documented involving a male.

Kevin Breen's family chose to be optimistic about the situation, though. His wife, Julie, noted that life will be different for them. But it does not mean that it is necessarily bad. Also, they will figure it out together for their kids. "Dad's going to have cool hands, Dad's going to have cool feet. We want to be positive," she said.

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