Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Help for my Dad

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 3 Replies
  • Posted By: jules6965
  • February 18, 2009
  • 08:16 PM

I've been trying to get some help for my Dad, and I'm grasping at straws.

My Dad is 68 years old, works every day of his life and is the toughest son of a gun you've ever seen. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in Dec 2008, and went to the hospital in Vancouver to have a 10cm X 15 cm cancerous tumor removed from his intestine. After the surgery, his doctor told him that all went well, and they got all of the cancer. He was supposed to be in the hospital for 4 days. It is now February 18th, and my Dad is still struggling for his life in the hospital. He was told that he has contracted a "super-bug" called Vancomycin resistant enterococcus from the Vancouver hospital. He has since been moved to a hospital closer to home. He has had numerous x-rays, tests, and scans but they can't find anything. They have told him that the bug (VRE) is in remission so not to worry about that for the time being. His symptoms are as follows: constant diarrhea, joint and muscle pain, water retention, loss of appetite, major weight loss, tiredness (sleeps all day), dry mouth, severe weakness, blood clots in arm and leg, severe swelling in same arm and leg, the skin from his hands, feet, mouth and throat peeled off, fevers, chills, etc. They have found pneumonia in his lungs twice, but that has since cleared up. My Dad also has had colitis for the past 40 years, but as far as I know that has been maintained, as it has in the past. I am at my wit's end as to what is wrong with my father. I have searched websites, etc with his symptoms but have come up with nothing. All the doctors and nurses who are looking after my Dad are completely stumped as to why he is so sick. Is there anyone who can shed some light on all of this?

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3 Replies:

  • Sorry about your dad, but take it from family experience that when hospitals screw up they won't admit it or divert you from what's really wrong with him. I'm thinking some kind of infection during surgery due to unhygienic conditions or instruments. And they probably know this. I suggest getting an opinion from a non-affiliated hospital.
    WildMonkey 7 Replies
    • February 18, 2009
    • 08:56 PM
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  • Okay, one of the features of colorectal cancer resection is the subsequent response by Interleukin-6, cytokine response and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. The origin of this response is at the level of the bowel, but quickly becomes systemic in some cases and there are varying degrees of invasiveness which can result in multiple organ involvement in the form of sepsis, or a sub-threshold variation that tends to forestall the body's normal healing rate due to an up-regulation in a general inflammatory response that persists following the surgery. You should discuss with your doctors whether labs have been performed to determine the presence an intensity of a systemic cytokine response relative to the factors I've mentioned. Some of the symptoms you've mentioned are the consequence of the bacterial infection, but anytime a systemic presentation occurs following surgery, it can represent the presence of a cytokine inflammatory response that can induce sepsis or prevent normal expected convalescence and return to a more healthy status. This should be evaluated further. Best regards, J Cottle, MD
    JCottleMD 580 Replies
    • February 18, 2009
    • 11:39 PM
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  • Thank for both for your replies. I will be seeing my father today and will discuss this new information with him and, hopefully, his doctor. I forgot to mention in my first post that he also contracted Clostridium difficile from the hospital as well.
    jules6965 1 Replies
    • February 19, 2009
    • 03:47 PM
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