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.
It was reported in today's New York Times that Mariano Rivera developed a blood clot in his leg following arthroscopic repair of his right knee. While not all blood clots are the result of improper care, problems can arise from orthopedic procedures that are not properly performed. Orthopedic procedures, including hip replacements and knee replacements, can result in severe infection, damage to the bone, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). In some cases, a DVT - the presence of one of more blood clots that partially or completely block a vein - can result in a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.