Mother Of Twins, Lana Kuykendall, Fights Deadly Flesh-Eating Bacteria

Thirteen hours after giving birth to a healthy set of twins, a South Carolina woman was diagnosed with a rare flesh-eating infection. This is the second case of necrotizing fasciitis to make headlines this month.

On May 8th, just a few hours after being discharged from Emery University Hospital in Atlanta, Lana Kuykendall was admitted in to Greenville Memorial Hospital.  According to NBC News, Friend Kayla Moon stated Kuykendall, “was having a lot of pain and noticed a spot on her leg.”

Kuykendall’s husband, Darren Kuykendall, stated that the ‘spot’ initially appeared as a red and black bruise about the size of a 3 by 5 index card; however, after a half hour it grew almost a quarter of an inch. Within hours the strange bruise grew to cover the back of her leg. Moon told reporters that, “(Kuykendall) kept getting worse in front of your eyes. She would just get worse and worse and worse. Every minute it was like she was going down.”

Initially, the Kuykendall couple rushed to the hospital thinking that the spot was a blood clot. Within an hour Lana Kuykendall was diagnosed with the rare-flesh eating bacteria and was rushed into the surgery room. Kuykendall underwent four surgeries; doctors removed the infected flesh and believe to have stopped the spread of the bacteria with the help of antibiotics. No Limbs had to be removed during this process.  Lana is currently in critical, but stable condition.

While it is not known what caused Kuykendall’s infection, the case helps illuminate the signs and symptoms that tip of an infection. According to The National Necrotizing Fasciitis Organization, the infection often occurs in an arm or leg after a minor trauma or surgery.  The group reports that Strep A is often responsible after minor traumas. However, the Aeromonas hydrophila is also known to trigger the infection, as was the case with Aimee Copeland.

The infection occurs when the bacteria enters the body and emits toxins that destroy the soft tissue, which becomes gangrenous and must be removed immediately. The initial symptoms consist of pain in the area of the trauma, flu-like symptoms, and red, swollen area of skin as well as the appearance of new wounds.  If the infection remains untreated the person’s blood pressure may decrease and they may go into septic shock.

The recent publicity surrounding Lana Kuykendall and Aimee Copeland has brought light to the deadly nature of necrotizing fasciitis. While typically portrayed in medical dramas, in reality the disease may infect anyone and the death toll is shockingly high. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, there are about 10,000 to 15,000 cases of necrotizing fasciitis cases per year, with 2,000 to 3,000 deaths. Greater awareness must be brought to the cause as it poses a threat to people everywhere.

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