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Starke man dies after fight with necrotizing fasciitis

6:18 PM, May 22, 2012   |    comments
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STARKE, Fla. - Every day Dorothy Burger watches the news to see if there is an update in the case of Aimee Copeland.

The 22-year-old Georgia woman is battling necrotizing fasciitis, the same bacteria that killed Burger's husband last month.

"It's one of those things that you don't ever assume is [going to] happen," explained Burger.

Paul Burger was mowing the lawn one day and in the hospital the next.  Burger said her husband spent 18 days in the intensive care unit at North Florida Regional Medical Center before he died April 30. 

The infection originated in Burger's mouth, but doctors were not able to determine where he had picked up the bacteria, said Dorothy Burger.  

"They have no idea where, when or how," Burger said.   "If you could go back to a point in time and say, 'Well, this happened, so then this happened.'  But you can't.  They don't know."

Now, Burger wants other people to learn the warning signs of necrotizing fasciitis, so they can get the treatment they need in time. 

"I don't want his death to be in vain.  I want something good to come out of it," explained Burger.  "You know, if getting this out even saves just one person, you know, the pain that I have had, I would be so happy and I know that he would be too." 

Burger has joined the National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation, which offers support to survivors and victims alike. 

According to the NNFF, symptoms do not immediately look serious.  In the first 24 hours, you will have a cut or bruise.  Within a few days, that injury will radiate pain that is not consistent with the size of the injury.  Just four or five days after the infection, a patient's blood pressure will drop dramatically and the bacteria can cause the person to lose consciousness. 

First Coast News

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