Bobby Richter

I recently spent 3 weeks in the hospital (June, 2009) from a Strep A Bacterial infection and necrotizing fasciitis. After my release from the hospital, I was able to further research what happened to me. This is our story… On Saturday, June 6, 2009, we came in from an offshore fishing trip. While washing the boat that evening, I slipped and banged my left shin on a deck box. The scratch was minimal and about 4 inches long. The skin was barely broken and no bleeding occurred. The next morning, I woke up and walked our dogs with my wife, went to Mass and had a relatively normal Sunday, although I was beginning to feel a little nauseous Sunday night. Monday I could not go to work. I had flu like symptoms, diarrhea, and a high fever. I assumed I had a 24 hour bug, as I rarely get sick. I made myself consume a lot of fluid, as I knew I was getting dehydrated from running back and forth to the restroom. That afternoon, my wife (Carol) suggested we go to the hospital as I was quite ill and my left leg was starting to hurt. I should have listened to her. I couldn't sleep Monday night, my fever had persisted, and now my leg was throbbing. I thought that I must have broken my leg and agreed to see my orthopedic doctor Tuesday morning for X-rays. About 2 A M Tuesday, I tried to get out of bed to go to the restroom and I couldn't pick my head up above my shoulders. At this time I knew something else was wrong besides a possibly broken leg. Carol took me to the hospital and I arrived in the ER about 3 AM. My blood pressure was 70/30 and my resting heart rate was 185 beats per minute. I had gone into septic shock and my kidneys had failed. Fortunately, our family doctor makes his rounds early and saw me about 5 AM in the ER. He poked around on my left leg, which now had small water blisters on the shin and told my wife "Your husband is very sick and he is going to get much worse before he gets better. He has a bad infection in his leg". At 10 AM I had my first surgery to remove about a third of my left calf down to the muscle and past the leg bone. I had another surgery the following day as the doctors thought the infection was advancing up my leg. The 6 days I spent in intensive care seemed like one long night, much of which I can not remember. I do remember a nurse telling me that the last patient that he saw with the same infection that I had only lived 12 hours after he was admitted to the hospital. Fortunately, after 4 days my kidneys slowly began to function and improved a little every day. Daily, the wound therapists would come in and de-breed my leg. Two weeks after I was admitted to the hospital, I had a skin graft to cover the hole in my leg. After another week, I was released from the hospital and spent the next month in bed with my leg elevated, praying that the graft would take. It did. It has now been a year since my hospitalization. My kidneys have recovered and my leg is healing. God, 4 great doctors, a fantastic hospital, and a lot of prayers made this possible. My wife, Carol, and our sons, Bryan and Matt, were at the hospital night and day. Their encouragement and faith made the journey to recovery shorter. I will never be able to give enough thanks to all those who helped me and prayed for me.