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Patient Stories: Nicholas Johnson

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A healthy 12-year-old from Texas who nearly died from an MRSA infection.

After 12-year-old Nicholas Johnson was injured at football practice, his parents, Janet and Dale Johnson, took him to the pediatrician.  Nicholas was diagnosed with a bad shoulder sprain, given a sling for his arm, and advised to take ibuprofen for pain. But one day later Nicholas was rushed to the emergency room with a temperature of 104.6 degrees. Now diagnosed with a bacterial infection, Nicholas was given antibiotics and some pain medication, and his parents took him home. But the antibiotics didn’t work.

Three days later, when his elbows and knees swelled up, Nicholas was back to the hospital. He was in respiratory failure and needed to be put on a ventilator. Finally, after being given multiple antibiotics, Nicholas was able to fight off the methicillin-resistant staph infection that had spread through his whole body. The hospital report says: “It’s a miracle he survived.”

Nicholas can now run as well as he used to. Because of the infection, he lost all of the hearing in his left ear, and he has some scars from his three operations, but otherwise, he is in great shape.

Nicholas and his mother, Janet Johnson, traveled to Washington, DC, from their home in Stafford, Texas, to be on hand when IDSA unveiled its 2004 report, Bad Bugs, No Drugs (PDF).

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