Recently, there have been several reports in the news of cases of necrotizing fasciitis, also known as the “flesh-eating bacteria.” First we heard about Aimee Copeland, a 24 year-old graduate student in Georgia, who has already had one leg amputated, and had her remaining foot and her hands amputated, as a result of contracting necrotizing fasciitis. Then we heard about Lana Kuykendall, an Atlanta woman who gave birth to twins on May 7. She returned to a hospital in South Carolina on May 11 after noticing a rapidly expanding bruise on her leg. She remains in the hospital, intubated and sedated, and at this point the flesh-eating bacteria appears to be confined to her leg.
Now a third person, a 33 year-old landscaper, has reportedly been diagnosed with flesh-eating bacteria. He is also in Georgia, in the same hospital as Copeland.
This disease can be caused by different kinds of bacteria, and often results in severe disability or death. Fortunately, if the condition is diagnosed early, it can be treated successfully. The hallmark of this disease is pain out of proportion to the clinical presentation. Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder has successfully represented victims of this disease whose diagnosis was delayed due to malpractice of a health care provider, including a woman who was treated at a walk-in clinic in southeastern Connecticut. She had presented with severe pain in her neck and flu-like symptoms. She was discharged without sufficient testing or work up for her symptoms. Two days later she was taken by ambulance to the emergency room. Despite aggressive surgery in an effort to control the disease, she died shortly thereafter from overwhelming sepsis due to Strep Group A.