Vernon Thompson

As told by Vernon: I contacted the "flesh -eating - disease" in April of 2000. It all started from a bruise that I got at work one day. I was in the process of changing out a compressor on a freezer at a local school when I got a bruise from a box that I was bringing to the school. As I was approaching the door to open it, some children came running out of the door, which hit the box, which in turn hit me in the chest. I didn't think anything about it, because cut's and bruises come with the territory. About noon I felt really bad. I was freezing to death, throwing up, and felt awful. I finally went home from work, and went to my doctor. I was told that I had the flu and was sent home with no blood pressure. I was so sick, that I didn't pick up on that, and was prescribed fenegrin for the nausea and was told to take Advil for the pain and fever. Later that night, I walked in front of a mirror and saw that I was blue in color and I alerted my wife, because she already was in bed. She took me to the hospital, and they were surprised that I could even walk into the emergency room. They couldn't even get my blood pressure using a Doppler. I died once in the E.R. and they brought me back with a crash cart. After they diagnosed me with N.F., the surgeon's started the debring process. I lost most of my left upper torso, my ring, middle, and index finger's on my left hand, and the little finger on my right hand. Both of my feet have been amputated to 5 inches long, and they are still doing surgery on me 3 year's later. I still risk loosing my left arm, and am still looking at reconstructive surgery on my left upper torso. The Doctor's told me that I was a miracle because they covered me up 2 time's that day, but I came right back. It took 2 times for them to realize that there was a THIRD PHYSICIAN in the operating room with them and me that day, and that was the Lord Himself. My chief surgeon told me that he went to Church and believed in God, but he didn't give much thought to Miracle's until he got involved with me. He told me that my case was going to the medical journal, and I was going down as a miracle. Vernon Thompson As told by Vernon's wife, Fay: In April of 2000, the day started out just any other day. He came home from work not feeling well. He said his chest hurt a little because he had hit it with a corner of a box he was carrying. I checked it out and there was a small red spot. We really didn't think much of it. This was on Wednesday. Thursday morning he felt like he was getting the flu. He was kind of achy. He went on to work. About noon he came home freezing and running a temp and went on to bed. Later that night he was worse. So we decided to go to the ER. We got there about midnight and they said it would be at least a 6 or 7 hour wait. We really thought he "just" had the flu. So we figured we would just wait and go to our family doctor the next morning (Friday). I was up all night with him Thursday night. His temp was very high. It was running around 104. Friday morning we got to the doctor about 9 am. The doctor wasn't in so we saw the nurse practitioner. And of course the nurse came in. Took his temp, blood pressure, and things like that. Well she tried to get a blood pressure twice in both arms and couldn't find it. She thought she was getting sick to and her ears were stopped up and said the NP would come in and try also. When she got in there, she checked him out and said it was just the flu and gave him something to help with the nausea. BUT… she didn't check his blood pressure. So in other words she sent him home with no blood pressure. As the day went on he got worse. We thought he was having a reaction to the medicine. About 10 pm I went on to bed. I told him if he got worse to get me up and I would take him back to the ER. So around midnight he woke me up and said something wasn't right. Told me to get up and look at him. So I did and he was blue. I wanted to call 911 but he said not for just the flu. So we went back to the hospital. We got there about 1am. As soon as they saw him they knew something was bad wrong. They took him straight back and couldn't believe that he walked in. His heart rate was 180 and no blood pressure at all. We didn't know it at the time but his lungs had collapsed. So they took him on back and it seemed like it was hours before they came out to get me. And when they did this nurse Lisa came out and asked what the deal was with the bruise on his chest. I told her I didn't know what she was talking about. Then it dawned on me about the little red bruise he had gotten on Wednesday. She said "oh no, this bruise was huge". So she took me back and showed it to me. What was about the size of a dime was now the size of a dinner plate. I was shocked. And they had no idea what it was but it was growing about and inch every half hour. At first they thought he had a blood clot in his lung which would have caused the lungs to collapse. But they did tests and it wasn't that. Then about 4 am they told me in order to keep him alive long enough to find out what it was they needed to put him on life support. This is something I knew he didn't want but I had no choice but to sign the forms to do this. Three years prior to this his sister had a massive stroke and died on life support and he always said this is not what he wanted if it came to that for him. With the blood work they had done they did know that it was some kind of bacteria. So they called in the infectious disease doctor. It took a few more hours but he came out and talked to me and told me he had Necrotizing Fasciitis better known as "the flesh eating disease". There is no antibiotic to kill this bacteria and they would have to take him to surgery and try to cut ahead of it to get it all. By this time it was so bad that they were sure he was going to lose his left arm and shoulder. They told me he was dying His body was shutting down. He was in kidney and liver failure and both lungs had collapsed. Plus where his blood pressure was so low for so long he would most likely loose his fingers and toes. That is "if" he lived. So about 7am they took him to surgery. The doctors told me they had to resuscitate him several times in OR and even after going though all this he had less than 10% chance of survival. But they did save his arm so far. It seemed like all that next week he was having surgery everyday. One of the surgeries he had was to amputate his toes. His toes had what they called mummified. They were black and shinny and one had even fallen off by its self. They took off just what they had to and didn't shape up his feet because they still didn't think he was going to live. And again, they said if he did live, that he wouldn't be able to walk. The first week and half he was in the hospital he was in critical and unstable condition. I didn't know from one visit to the next if he was going to better, worse, or the same. He was in ICU so my visits were limited but I never left the hospital. I stayed 24/7. The first few days they would let me go back and see him if nothing was going on in ICU. They were giving me as much time as they could with him because he was dying so they thought. Into the second week they finally got him stabilized but he was still critical. He had so many surgeries that I lost count. I think it was like 10 - 12. In the end, he lost most of his upper left side, under his arm. And some of his back. He lost his ring, middle, and index fingers. All ten toes and part of his feet. To date, his feet are giving him the most problems. Bone spurs keep growing and they keep going in and taking inch by inch off to help relieve the pain. Right now his right foot is about 5 inches long and his left is about 7. But as soon as his right one heals they are going to take 2 inches off his left one. As soon as they get his feet done then they are going to work on his side. The skin graphs they did are so tight that he has little movement using his arm. They are going to try to give him more movement. So we are looking at least 3 or 4 more surgeries. Anyone that would like more details or pictures feel free to e-mail me. UPDATE December 29, 2006 We kept waiting on the last surgery on his feet. We had no idea how this would all end. Or even if there was an ending to this nightmare. On his left foot after they had taken two more inches off one of the stitches on the bottom of his foot got infected. We fought this infection for over two years. We tried everything from sugar and iodine to a wound VAC to hyperbaric therapy. Nothing would heal this place on the bottom of his foot. By now it covered most of the bottom of his foot. They would take him to surgery about once a month to clean the old tissue out and get back to good tissue. They took bone biopsy's. That didn't really show much. They assured me that it was not NF again. We packed the wound with wet to dry. Nothing helped. Finally they did a MRI and it showed that the bone was infected and it would never heal. They did an ultrasound on his leg and found a blood clot that went from his knee to his ankle. Another worry. They put him on blood thinners to make sure he didn't throw a clot and have a stroke. On Christmas day in 2005 his leg was so swollen and hot I thought it was going to burst. So I took him to the ER again. His doctor said the best thing to do is to amputate his foot and leg. So they got the swelling down in his leg. On the 28th of December they put in a green field filter to keep from any of the clot to move up to his heart or brain. And took him to surgery again. They took his leg from below the knee. We all held our breath about the healing. With the wound on the bottom of his foot not healing we were afraid that the stump might not heal. The doctor left the staples in till mid February. The day he got the staples removed we went to Mike Zone at Tri-State Orthotics in Huntington WV. We had tried Hanger's before when he lost his toes. We were not impressed. Mike was an answer to our prayers. He wasn't all about money, he really wanted to help Vernon to walk again. Anyway, he molded Vernon's stump and made his new leg. When he called and said the first part of his leg was done and for us to come in and try it on. It brought tears to my eyes to see my husband standing straight up and taking steps. I think it got to Mr. Zones too. Vernon has had a few back sets. A few blisters here and there. So far he hasn't fallen. I think that is due to the fact that he got such a good fit on his leg and me hovering over him. He gets around pretty well. And he can pretty much do what he wants to do. I don't think we are going to do anything about his arm any time soon if ever. Well, this brings our story up to date as of December of 2006. If anyone has any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me.