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Thread: So how fast can a blood infection kill you anyways?

  1. #1

    So how fast can a blood infection kill you anyways?

    This is very scary. Before Chris died of this, I knew another C5-6 quad who died of a blood infection that was initially caused by a kidney infection. What's the best way to prevent blood infections from happening and fast can they occur? It seems like the Grim Reaper is on fast-forward when it comes to this scary contamination...

  2. #2
    Theo - here's an article from MedlinePlus about septicemia -

    "Causes, incidence, and risk factors Return to top

    Septicemia is a serious, rapidly progressing, life-threatening infection that can arise from infections throughout the body, including infections in the lungs, abdomen, and urinary tract. It may precede or coincide with infections of the bone (osteomyelitis), central nervous system (meningitis), or other tissues."


    If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. - Mother Teresa

  3. #3
    thank you marmalady

  4. #4
    Senior Member Kaprikorn1's Avatar
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    Sep 2002
    S.F. Bay Area, Calif.
    According to CR's Doctor it wasn't the infection that killed him, it was heart failure. They do not know what precipitated the heart failure but that his body had been weakened by the infections he had been fighting all year. This was reported in the interview with Wise and CR's Doc on The Greta Van Susterin show on Fox News.


    "It's not easy being green"

  5. #5
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Windsor ON Canada
    I'm scared now.

    I've been battling infections for the past five years now and have two bacteria in my left foot. Osteomyelitis as well. Cloudy urine for the first time in years and noticed I'm a bit short of breath.

    One can't be treated because my system can't take sulfa drugs. So now what the hell ..

    A friend of mine is quad and never moves - no pressure wounds. I move all the time travelling to work and all over the place (never bumping myself!) and I am plagued with them. C Reeve had top notch care and couldn't stave them off.

    Why some people get them while others don't is beyond me.

  6. #6
    I was in Intensive care for 6 months with septicemia that started from a pressure wound.
    Scary Stuff.

  7. #7
    See 3rd post in topic

    Please go to Max's topic above, to see the explanation for how the infection got into the bloodstream and what effect that has on the heart.

    Tx, Max, for finding this excellent explanation.

    If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. - Mother Teresa

  8. #8
    I'm sorry, but my nurse's intuition tells me that there was more than we're hearing going on with Christopher Reeves, so I don't think it's wise for all of us to get scared about dying any time soon.

    Blood infections are very serious because some kinds of bacteria excrete a toxin that makes the blood vessels go limp and the blood pressure go down the toilet.

    We need to be vigilant for signs of fever, increased spasticity, increase neuropathic pain, nausea, vomiting and feeling like we have the flu. Those are the signs of an infection brewing. (Cloudy urine and stinky urine by itself do not mean much from a medical point of view).

    There are other drugs besides sulfa drugs that can be used to treat infections, so that even if you're allergic to sulfa there is usually something that your doctor can do.

    Let's all take several deep breaths. Christopher Reeves death is very sad, but it does not mean any of us are closer to death if we just take basic good care of ourselves.


  9. #9
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Windsor ON Canada
    SCI-Nurse - you guys are awesome. It must be quite a feeling to get up everyday and know that you have such a positive impact on so many lives ... so many that you'll never meet.

    Is it a good idea to do a bone biopsy on a foot that has extremely weak scar tissue and hasn't closed in years? I've come so far with this wound in the last few years - from about 4" diameter on the heel to about 1" x 0.5". Is this something where they normally put you under for or .. ? I think it's time to just go in and scrape the bone.

    I asked my Infection Specialist the last time (after the 2nd picc line) how do we tell the infection is gone and she just said she'd see me in November. I'm worried because I've had the wrong dressings for the past two months (I can only take Biatin - the non-adhesive kind and the supplies I kept getting were wrong and didn't allow my skin to breath). Because of this I developed a greenish exudate again which I *think* is a sign of pseudomonas, only a month and a half after losing the picc line. I was also booted off of home care so there go my free supplies.

    I'll have to see if my work coverage will cover them. Otherwise I think Biatin is $75 per week.

  10. #10
    I want to echo KLD's words. Let us not jump to conclusions concerning the cause of Christopher Reeve's cardiac arrest. If people take good care of themselves, they can and will live long lives. It is important that everybody with spinal cord injury take care to address infections aggressively.

    It is true that people with high cervical spinal cord injuries have a higher risk of life-threatening infections such as pneumonia but it is not clear that this was what happened. Christopher had been having problems with infections during the summer and he was also working very hard.


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