Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Update of August 1: Since posting this piece about MRSA my site meter indicates that several people doing an Internet search for MRSA have ended up at my blog and then went on to use my Reader's Digest link so that they could read the article itself. It is gratifying to me to know that I have been instrumental in helping others learn how to protect themselves and their families from this deadly germ.

In the August issue of Reader's Digest is an article about deadly superbugs...in particular the bug known as CA-MRSA which is said to have become an epidemic and to be second ONLY to HIV as a public health threat.

The article is especially meaningful to me personally because my niece's baby, who is written up in the article, died from this bug two year ago. It happened so quickly.

Little Maddy seemed to be coming down with a mild cold. But it wasn't a mild cold. It was MRSA. Within a few weeks, Maddy died her little body ravaged by this bug. She died despite the intense efforts of the doctors to save her life.

My niece has established an online memorial in memory of Maddy. You can learn more at this memorial site about what happened to Maddy. You will also learn about Maddy's Bill there which is legislation Maddy's parents are attempting to get passed that, among other things, would help to prevent the spread of this bug from carriers who are not ill to others.

I am telling my readers about this health threat and the Reader's Digest article, because there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from this bug. The steps you can take are in the article. I hope you will read the article and visit Maddy's memorial site.


  1. Thanks for the information and the details about Maddy. You just never know the pain others have suffered and what a postive way they pickd to help others. You are a super aunt to pass this information along.

  2. Since my husband has been in the hospital recently and had to take antibotics, I have learned a lot about these superbugs and how they are resistant to many antibotics. I have been giving my husband natural viral/bacteria fighters to make sure he doesn't come down with one of these superbugs.

    I'm sorry to hear about Maddy's death from this horrible bug. I hope her mom and dad are successful with their fight. Thanks for the story.

  3. I went back and read that article in the Readers Digest and it is scary!!

  4. While I am thinking about it, Did your husband ever find out what was making his leg swell? While TF was in the hospital, his right leg swoll up too. They did an ultra sound on him and found a small blood clot behind his left leg. They put him on blood thinners and he had to wear support hose, he did not have trouble with his blood preasure though. They decided, at the last minute, not to send him home with a blood thinner and I am giving him herbs that will thin the blood naturally. As of now all the swelling has gone down and he seems fine in that area. Just wondering.......

  5. Good post and way to honor your niece's baby; there are so many things out there that don't become memorable until they're personalized.

  6. Julie and I read this last week and thought of our daughter's best friend who spent two weeks in the hospital "near death" with strange syptoms. She finally pulled through, but they said it was a bug of sorts (not mentioning these). I'll have to tell Julie about Maddy and this site.
    (We're still camping... just have temporary access to wireless.)

  7. I'll be back to follow your links on this. I'm trying to catch up on my reads...So sorry to hear of the tragic loss of this precious child.

  8. So sorry to hear about the loss of this precious child.
    Thank you for the info on these illnesses.

    Hugs to you,

  9. Nancy: Maddy's death was a tragedy, and you don't know the half of it. My niece and her husband have not allowed Maddy's death to be for nothing though. This surely helps them deal with their loss.

    Lucy: If anything is going to do the human race in, it will be these superbugs. I hope you do a post someday soon on these natural viral/bacteria substances you are giving your husband. I'd like to know what they are.

    You asked about my husband. He still has trouble with his lower legs swelling. Right now he is working with a kidney specialist who keeps changing his medicine in order to control the problem without the medicine affecting my husband's potassium level. The medicine was screwing up his potassium level there for a while and he was dragging. I was afraid he would suffer heart failure from the low potassium. We still do not have a defintive answer why he is retaining water in his extremities except that it is due partly to aging. But he is way too sedentary. Surely that is part of the problem. I think he needs to exercise his legs a bunch (take long, brisk walks and get on that treadmill) in order to increase his circulation. But so far he shows no interest in doing that. I'm glad your husband is doing better.

    Paul: Thanks. Isn't that the truth. Something like this has much more of an impact on you when it happens to you or someone close to you.

    Tom: I hope you and your wife Julie can look at Maddy's memorial site. Every time I visit that site I end up crying though due to all the touching notes left by other parents who have lost children.

    Susie: Yes, do come back to the links. The information the article provides on how you can protect yourself from MRSA is invaluable. Some of it amounts to simple hygiene.

    Susie Q: Thanks. It was a very sad thing. I will never forget that small white coffin covered in a spray of pink roses there at the front of the church during the funeral service. It was so little.

  10. How very tragic about little Maddy- and how very scary this sounds...I went over and read some of the article, but mostly the last page of steps to help protect your family. I will certainly be even more diligent (and I already am!) about my girls washing their hands nice and long!

    I can't even watch news because I'm a very anxious person by nature...but I do believe in being informed if it can lead us to positive steps. So thank you for bringing this to our attention.

    Outside of the basic steps, the most important thing we can do, in the meantime, I believe, is pray for God's protection.


  11. Tammy: I thought of your little girls when I was deciding to write about this superbug. So, I am glad you stopped by so that you could learn about it and learn how to protect your family from it.

    Indeed, beyond taking steps to protect ourselves and our family members, it is always a good idea to pray for God's protection.

  12. I just heard about MRSA yesterday. We had a patient who was tested for it, and I didn't know what it was. I am a fanatic about washing my hands several times a day. It's one of the best way to keep these infections at bay.

    Great post!

  13. I'm sorry to hear about your niece's baby's death. Thanks for the article link - I'll check it out.

  14. Josie: I am a fanatic about washing my hands too. I am surprised they are still attached to my wrists.

    Crystal: Thanks. My niece deals with her pain the best way she knows how.

  15. I spent some time at Maddy's site and read, listened, clicked the links. Wow! What a testimony and helpful tool of awareness. I must admit that as I watched the news clips, it reminded me of a day in the mid-80s when I first learned of another condition referred to by four letters that none of us had ever heard of before. This is a little more alarming than AIDS in that it is so casually spread.

    I noticed that the week of the RD story and this post was the two year anniversary of Maddy's passing. It was meaningful to see Luke tender to the ground.

    I'm not sure what your days hold at the present, but if you and your husband could use a diversion, you should go see "No Reservations." Julie and I went last night. You like to cook so the film provides a great backdrop for the kind of love and support that helps us endure loss.

  16. Susie,I couldn't finish reading all the details at Maddy's Place.

    A couple that were very good friends of mine had a child, a boy, back in 1990-91 or so. He was so cute and his Dad was so proud of him because he was very bright. Around 1996 they went down to the New Jersey shore for the day to have a day at the beach. They young boy about 6 years old picked up some kind of virus and began running a fever. They took him to the emergency room at the nearest hospital (Somers Point NJ) as soon as they realized that the boy's conditon was very serious. The young boy named Nickolas died at the hospital that evening from a virus that sounds very like the one in the Readers Digest Article.

    They had the funeral at the Funeral home that is located at corner of my Mom's street. I could not stop crying because it was so sad and so sudden. Their marriage and their lives went into a total state of disarray. The man (Nick Sr) became a complete mess with alcohol and drugs. Cindy went to live with her Mother for a while. They got divorced and I haven't heard from either one since just after their divorce in 1998. The symptoms just as the article described came on so fast they had no time to do anything but go right to the hospital from the beach. Gosh Susie,...?

  17. Tom: Thanks for taking time to visit Maddy's memorial site. As I wrote previously, I end up in tears whenever I visit there. My sister (Luke's grandmother) is able to spend lots of time with little Luke. Even though Maddy is gone, thank God the family did not lose her twin Luke at the same time. I intend to go and see that movie No Reservations. I've seen it advertised on TV. I see you have your second Duncan Phyfe post up. I'll be over there shortly to read it in full.

    Jenni: I have heard of another case where someone got deathly ill after being at the seashore. Who knows what they picked up. Yes, this MRSA thing is scary. My understanding is that some people carry the MRSA germ without getting sick from it and then pass it on to others who do get sick. Maddy's bill would make it so that anyone working in hospitals or I think with children would have to be tested for this germ periodically. If you have the germ, the right kind of antibiotic gets rid of it. It turned out that my niece was infected with the germ and did not know it. She probably caught while she was in the hospital. It appears she passed it on to Maddy then. So sad.

  18. J_G posted a comment that is eerily similar to my situation. I too was at the Jersey shore 2 weeks ago and developed complications to which i thought was a boil or spider bite. After a few days of increased pain and swelling, I too went to the Somers Point facility. I was sent home after the ER lanced the boil and 2 days later I ended up in my local hospital on IV's of Vancomycin, Clndamyacin and Leviquin. I was diagnosed with MRSA after two cultures and was given Bactrum to fight it off. I am more alarmed by the information given to me in the hospital about this "superbug" and have since taken to a much more rigid hygiene program of constant Purell washing and Bacitracin in my nostrils on a regular basis. This is only the tip of the iceberg for the future.

  19. Anonymous, whoever you are, thanks for stopping by and sharing your story...and your newly adopted hygiene regime. I know what Purell is, but not Bacitracin for the nostrils. I will check into it. I shudder to think that this may be only the tip of the iceberg for the future as you say.

    Again, thanks for sharing here.

  20. I was diagnosed yesereday with MRSA. I am a long time sufferer of compicated sinus infections and have had 3 sinus surgeries prior to 2001. Now this.The first line of defense was IV vancomycin but thought they'd try Zyvox in pill form for two weeks . It was $2259 at the pharmacy with my copay being $1447. So overnight I cried and slept. Today I've talked to the nurse nd I'm waiting for the info on insurance, a pic line for the IV vancomycin when and where this wil al take place. They say it is moderate MRSA likely an overgrowth from a sinus infection. My first question is this contagious to my daughter and I can't get a firm answer. I am on hold and in limbo waiting for answers. This article scared me as has all the info in the last 18 hours. Laura

  21. Laura, I am not qualified to advise you about how contagious you might be to your daughter. But I will tell you this, I would find that out from a medical professional right away.

    I am sorry I didn't get back to you sooner with this reply. I did not realize you had left a comment.

    I wish you the best as you deal with this infection. Surely you wlll make a full recovery.