January 22, 2018- While going to work and getting into her car Rebecca fell on the ice and lacerated her elbow. It was a typical cut where she cleaned the wound and bandaged it up. It was fine for a couple weeks until Friday night when it reopened. By Saturday morning she had an infection the size of a golf ball in her elbow. She decided to go into urgent care to get antibiotics for it. While she was in urgent care her blood pressure got extremely low and they had to transfer her by ambulance to the emergency room at Central DuPage Hospital. Hours later her elbow was as big as a softball and the lower part of her hand was cold and numb.
The ER doctor knew this was serious and admitted her into the hospital and gave her very strong antibiotics. A culture was taken of the infection but it takes 24-48 hours to come back to know what strand of bacteria it is.
Her first night in the hospital (Saturday night) was really tough and she was in a lot of pain despite having very strong pain medicine. Sunday morning she woke up and she felt a little better, she could move her elbow a little bit and the redness and swelling had gone down slightly.
All thought she was getting out of the woods. It was a waiting game to see if the antibiotics would work and if surgery would be needed
By Sunday night in the hospital her elbow had gotten worse with swelling and pain. She woke up to find that her elbow swollen more and the redness had started creeping up her upper arm as well as down her lower arm.
The orthopedic surgeon put her on for surgery to remove the infected tissue.
The culture came back and it was not good news Rebecca has Group A Strep in her wound. It’s also known as the flesh-eating bacteria. (Many people have it on their skin or strep in their throats but when it gets into the tissue it is potentially deadly).
The doctor thinks they caught it earlier enough to save her arm and life (in the worst cases)…
Surgery tonight will determine how long of a haul this will be. As a single mom the stress of not having a functional arm is scary enough but that people have died from this is beyond comprehension from a simple fall.
All are hoping for the best-case scenario in which she will be in the hospital for weeks and no amputation.
Rebecca is out of surgery. The doctor had to remove more tissue than he thought. The bacteria had significantly moved up and down her arm. Initially he said a 3-inch opening/tissue removal but after speaking with him post op he had to make about a 12 inches incision and removal of tissue.
He is working tonight to get her transferred to Loyola hospital in Maywood which is near Chicago that has a higher level/better facility for continual tissue/muscle debridement.
Monday night/Tuesday morning 3:30am
Rebecca had been transported to Loyola around 3:30am. They got her situated and around 5am three Residents rounded on her just now. CDH hospital put in a couple stitches while she was transporting and the residents took out her stitches just now. She is on pain meds and resting. The attending doctor will be in within an hour to give a game plan on what we should expect.
Tuesday morning 7am
The attending physician just came in with a large group of doctors and residents. Her wound looks good from the surgery CDH did. He says it looks like he got a lot of the dead tissue. He says she will get re-packed and have daily wound cleaning with the addition of a Wound Vac
Everything is day to day as the bacteria (if any left) can start causing trouble again. He will continue her on high dose antibiotics. Praying that the infection is all cut out but there is no way to tell except for time.
Wednesday morning 10am
Rebecca is resting comfortably. They put her on a dilaudid pain drip so she is on heavy pain medication and she is sleeping most of the time. They put in a Vacuum assisted closure (wound vac) that helps the wound heal faster.
She is on penicillin G for the infection most likely for the duration of her stay at Loyola. They just put her in oxygen as her pulse oxygen level was low.
We will know more about the wound healing progress Saturday. She has a very large wound from surgery and likely needs rehab to function with her arm. At this point we will gladly accept that and are praying the infection is gone.
- Kara & Nolan Beran
- Renee (my mom) Howse
- Ashleigh Jaeger
- Tiffany Minderman
- Dana Wrona
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