Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

strange wound symptoms, going on 5 months!

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 0 Replies
  • Posted By: valogical
  • October 17, 2009
  • 07:48 PM

So to start off, my husband is a diesel engine mechanic, and about 5 months ago he was working on a leaking high pressure fuel pump. He believes he got a high pressure injection of diesel fuel into his left forearm, and apparently his initial symptoms are consistent with that type of injury.

Right after it happened, his left forearm swelled up, there was a tiny pinprick puncture wound that turned black, and his arm was red, hot, and huge. An MRI of the arm showed an abscess. He was immediately put on IV Vancomycin, which did not help. An orthopedic surgeon cleaned out and bedrided his arm, and put in two drains.

The wound did not drain much over the next few days, and the abscess re-formed. The wound was reopened, debrided again, and this time left open, with a wound VAC dressing. IV vanco was also continued. He went home with the wound VAC and IV antibiotics. The wound closed up, and the antibiotics were discontinued over the next two months.

A week after the wound VAC dressing was removed and the antibiotics were discontinued, his arm swelled up again. Exactly like the first time. His doctor did not believe us, and waited over a week to do an MRI to confirm. Another surgery was necessary and his arm was WORSE than it was originally, it was again left open with a wound VAC. His doctor expressed that this didn't make any sense, and that he had no idea why it happened. He also said that the abscess smelled strongly of fuel, and inquired as to whether or not my husband had been pumping gas with his gaping wound hanging out. He hadn't, because hes not stupid.

A notable concern is that they never restarted the antibiotics (not that they helped the first time, but still). I guess they did several bacterial and fungal tests on swabs that they took from his arm during all of the surgeries he had, and nothing ever grew on the cultures, so they decided that there would be no use in continuing antibiotic therapy.

Now he is having fevers up to 102 degrees, during which he gets chills and his lips and fingernails turn blue. His wound also has a smell to it that has been compared to pseudomonas bacteria by his pain management doctor. And recently, it also started to swell whenever the bandage gets taken off to be changed.

His infectious disease doctor refuses to see him, as he feels that this is all normal and antibiotic therapy will not help him. And his surgeon also says that its not a cause for immediate concern.

I disagree. I happen to think his doctors might be insane. Anyone who looks at him and sees his lips turning blue while he feels like hes sitting in an oven knows there is a problem. Unfortunately, his Workers Comp insurance company refuses to authorize him to see another doctor, and every time we go to the ER, they give him a round of antibiotics, and then turn him over to the surgeon, who says nothing is wrong.

We're really trying to avoid another surgery and month long hospital stay here. This is getting excessive. Has anyone heard of a high pressure injection injury, or any other injury for that matter, acting this way?

Any advice MUCH appreciated. Thank you.

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