A healthy man is infected with a disruptive digestive bacterium during shoulder surgery.
One week after shoulder surgery, Marcus began having bad stomach pains and severe diarrhea. At first he ignored it, but eventually he began to worry when he had trouble staying hydrated and felt cold all of the time. He saw a doctor who thought he may have caught a virus from his mother, and was told he could get a colonoscopy or go home. He chose to go home.
Soon after Marcus returned home, his dog stepped on his stomach, causing shooting pain in his abdomen, so he went to the emergency room (ER). The ER doctor gave him antibiotics and told him to rest. Marcus remembers being very sweaty and having very dark urine. He was suffering from extreme dehydration and the doctors ordered tests to identify the cause. Marcus lost 20 lbs. due to dehydration.
Doctors determined that during his shoulder surgery Marcus became infected with Clostridium difficile, an intestinal bacterium that seriously disrupts the digestive system, causing diarrhea and fatal dehydration if not identified quickly. Doctors tried several antibiotics before they found one that worked, and it took several weeks before Marcus was back to normal. He missed a month of work due to his illness, and he had to undergo special procedures the next time he had surgery for fear of re-infection. Prior to the infection, he had few digestion and stomach issues but he now has had recurring problems that have sent him to the doctor several times.