Upstate man treated for infection after surgery at GHS - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate man treated for infection after surgery at GHS

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A letter sent to some GHS surgery patients regarding the infections. (June 23, 2014/FOX Carolina) A letter sent to some GHS surgery patients regarding the infections. (June 23, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Fowler is receiving daily medication and care for his infection. (June 23, 2014/FOX Carolina) Fowler is receiving daily medication and care for his infection. (June 23, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Fowler is receiving daily medication and care for his infection. (June 23, 2014/FOX Carolina) Fowler is receiving daily medication and care for his infection. (June 23, 2014/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A Greenville County man said he's one of the heart surgery patients who contracted a dangerous infection at an Upstate hospital.

On June 20, doctors at Greenville Memorial Hospital released information that an infection caused by an atypical mycobacterium has affected some surgery patients in their care. They said that so far there were 14 patients who contracted an infection, and one person who died from it.

Thomas Fowler, 77, had open heart surgery at the beginning of April. He said that he went home, but the pain lasted and got worse over the next few weeks. He had heard the surgery recovery would be painful, but knew something was wrong when the surgery wound began to puss and burst.

Fowler spent nearly three weeks at the hospital as doctors mixed and matched antibiotics until they told him he had an infection caused by an atypical mycobacterium

"I was thinking it was supposed to hurt that way. And it kept getting so bad. I just couldn't handle it no more," said Fowler.

His son is now administering medications to him three times a day.

Doctors said it's a kind of bacteria that wouldn't usually make people sick. But people who have recently had surgery could be more susceptible to infection.

GHS is working with the Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Centers for Disease Control to find the source of the atypical mycobacterium. They said it may be related to a piece of equipment, which was removed from use along with any other equipment that may be potentially involved.

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