|Ron Blackburn's Survivor Story|
is Melanie Jones and my brother, Ron Blackburn, has necrotizing fasciitis.
He is doing well recovering right now. Here is his story, as of January
It started on Sunday, December 5, 2004, with cold and flu like symptoms,
which he thought nothing about. By Monday afternoon, the 6th, he was
chilling, sweating, shaking and felt terrible, his right armpit and
bicep were hurting immensely - he slept all afternoon and evening. For
the next two days he suffered through excruciating pain, fevers, chills,
etc., when after two visits to his Kinesiologist, the doctor told him
to go straight to the Emergency Room.The start of the battle. He was
admitted that evening to the local hospital. They started blood tests
of all kinds and trying to grow cultures in search of what this could
be. His right bicep was discolored and swollen, his right hand was pale
as a ghost from lack of circulation, his bicep area, armpit area and
some of his chest were bright red. His fever was high and his blood
pressure was critically low. They monitored him for the next 2 days
while administering 3 heavy hitting anti-biotics, they had even ultra-sounded
the sight to see if there was a mass in his arm, but there was none
to be found. On Thursday, December 9, 2004, he appeared to be getting
better. His fever had broke, some of the redness had subsided but his
blood pressure was still critically low.
The next chapter. Friday morning the doctor was making his rounds and found Ron in critically worse shape. His fever was back and the redness had spread, now it was across his chest, up his neck and was proceeding down his right side. He felt tremendously worse. They rushed him in for an ultra sound, but found nothing to explain what was going on. The doctor immediately called Dr. Dowell, the infectious disease specialist at the Wyoming Medical Center (WMC) in Casper. He was rushed to the ER of the WMC, he arrived about 1:30 Friday afternoon and as soon as Dr. Dowell seen how bad the situation had gotten, he knew exactly what it was and what he needed to do.
By 4:30 Ron was in emergency surgery. His diagnosis grim but positive, Dr. Dowell had informed Ron's wife Teresa that there was a high mortality rate with this disease but they believed they had caught it in time. He said 12-24 more hours and he'd have lost him arm, if not his life. Thank God for Prayer and Miracles. After a 1-1/2 hour surgery, the doctors came to tell us that it had went great, his arm was still intact, but they had to cut out the dead tissue and skin of his armpit and some of this right side and the skin from his right bicep.
The next morning he went back in for a second surgery, and a third surgery the day after that. Each surgery they removed more dead tissue and skin, until he had a 3-4" wide opening from his waist line to his armpit and was skinned from his armpit down the front of his bicep. After the fourth surgery - they declared they had gotten it all and it had appeared to stop spreading.
Now for some recovery time. He spent 2 1/2 days in the ICU throughout these surgeries and after the last one they moved him to a Telementry room of the hospital. They only gave him a day and a half rest before putting him back under to change the bandages. For the next week he would be knocked out every other day so the bandages could be changed. He underwent a total of 3 surgeries and 4 dressing changes.
December 20, 2004, 10 days into his ordeal, they felt happy enough with how things were going, that the plastic surgeon stapled his side up (from his waist line to his armpit) and applied a Wound Vac to the armpit and bicep area. A Wound Vac is a sponge like material that they apply over the wound, there is a suction hose that is also attached with sticky tape like stuff and the wound is vacuum packed and water tight. There is a unit that the hose is attached to that sucks the drainage from the wound, they say this Wound Vac can help heal the area in 2-3 days, that would normally take 10 days without it. It also helps prepare the area for a skin graph to take better. During this course, they did discover a blood clot in his right lung, but he is currently on blood thinners to prevent anymore and to help dissolve this one.
As of January 1, 2005, he is still currently in the TCU (Transitional Care Unit) of the hospital. He has been allowed a few 4 four passes throughout the New Year's weekend to travel to his home 40 miles away, which he has enjoyed immensely. He is recovering well so far, and we are hoping that plastic surgery can be started the first week of January.
I am very thankful his case turned out as well as it has, I realize how much worse it could have been, especially after reading other survivor stories. My question to you is, I was wandering if you know of any funding that is available to help them with their hospital bill. Ron is self-employed and Teresa just started a job with the school district this school year and they have no health insurance. The local community has started some fund raisers, but I can't imagine what this bill is going to be and I am trying to help them find some sources for help if there are any. I thought you guys might know of some. Please let me know of anything that can help them. My name is Melanie Jones, my phone is 307-436-5740, and my e-mail email@example.com. Thank You very much.
Melanie Jones, Sister of Survivor
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January 2, 2005