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Barbara of South Burlington, Vermont

I had spinal decompression, laminectomy and 3 level lumbar fusion, performed by 2 neurosurgeons at the largest hospital in my state. I spent 7 days in the hospital, saw neurosurgeons once and was given day to day care by a 2nd yr (out of 7 yrs) resident. Four days after discharge to my home 75 miles away, I started to have a fever and pus discharge from the main incision. I was admitted to the local hospital which did appropriate cultures, finding that I had M.R.S.A, a potentially deadly infection. I was transported by ambulance back to the original hospital where I was operated on again. They found the staph infection was deep in the sites. Surgeons cleaned and debrided tissue and flooded it with antibiotic. They admitted that I had gotten the infection in the operating room during the initial surgery. After another week’s hositalization, I was discharged and was cared for by my daughter, son-in-law and visiting nurses and therapists and friends for a month before I was well enough to care for myself. Two years later, I am still dealing with back pain and weakness, due to infection, failed fusion (probably due to infection) and roken hardware. No one at the hospital or state health department will provide statistics concerning this infection. Additionally, I will be on monocycline for life because if the infection were to return the metal could not be removed from my back.

Update: In 2006, I was diagnosed with 3 different autoimmune diseases: rheumatoid arthritis, fibrosis of the lungs and autoimmune hepatitis A, all of which were caused by the long term use (nearly 5 years) of minocycline. The rheumatologist that I was seeing was the one who realized the cause. The infectious disease doctor, who had told me that I would have to take minocycline for the “rest of my life” told me to stop taking it immediately: that I had been on it longer than any of his patients.  Now, in September, 2009, after treatment with prednisone for 2 years, my autoimmune diseases have largely disappeared, my health pretty much has stabilized, but I still have back pain and am limited in my physical activity.

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