Kevin Breen, 44-year-old Grand Rapids, Michigan resident landed in emergency suffering with unbearable stomach pain. Initial tests for Strep Throat (Streptococcal pharyngitis) and Flu at the Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids came back negative. CT scan however revealed that Kevin’s stomach was filled with infected pus. His stomach was growing and hardening, and then his organs began shutting down. Dr. Elizabeth Steensma, an acute care surgeon at the hospital described Kevin Breen as one of the sickest patients she has ever taken care of, and that his sickness was almost a mystery. At one stage the doctors even informed Kevin’s family that he might not survive.
To save Kevin’s organs, doctors redirected the blood flow that cut off blood supply to his hands and feet, which caused Necrosis (tissue death) of his hands and feet that turned dark black. As a result, a rash appeared on Kevin’s torso indicating a possible strep infection. Dr. Elizabeth Steensma also learnt that Breen’s son had recently caught strep throat and determined that the father had contracted the strep infection which travelled from his throat to stomach.
Kevin underwent surgery to clear the infected pus from his stomach and recovered after several days before he was transferred to an acute rehab hospital. After being at the rehab for about a month, Kevin was discharged home, but then he was scheduled to face at least four surgeries involving complete amputation of his left hand, amputation of multiple fingers on the right hand, and partial amputation of both his feet.
A GoFundMe page in the name of “Team Breen” was set up to cover the medical costs of Kevin Breen and to help him adapt to life without appendages. The surgeon Steensma told that it is very rare for a strep infection to travel from the throat of a patient to his stomach, and that Keen is only the second such documented case involving a male.