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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another Case

Today I am going to try to email as many newspaper and TV channels as I can. My mom gave an interview yesterday to a local newspaper that is interested in Justin's case.
Yesterday my mom also spoke to the family whose daughter passed away from this same disease in March. She was also at Cardinal Glennon. Her family is trying to get the word out about this illness as well.
Yesterday I found a blog about Lemierre Syndrome and 4 people left comments saying their Dr told them they had Strep Throat and gave them antibiotics with out even giving them a strep test. That is exactly what Justin's Dr did to him. I feel like some Doctors (NOT ALL!!) are just either getting too lazy to do tests or are just too busy and over booking themselves to do the tests. Or maybe its the insurance companies telling them not to. That is just my point of view or my thoughts on this situation. I hope it is not the truth.
I went to the Dr when Justin was in the hospital b/c I started getting a really bad cold. When I was telling the Dr of my symptoms I mentioned my brother being in the hospital with Lemierre Syndrome. She looked at me puzzled and said "Whats that?" 3 days later I took my daughter in for her 2 month check up and after her visit I asked the Dr (Who has been my family's pediatrician for about 20 years.) if he had ever heard of Lemierre Syndrome. He said No and went and got his medical book to look it up. The book he grabbed was at least 6 inches thick and when he found lemierre syndrome in it he looked at me and said, "Just to show you how rare and un researched this disease is look what they wrote." It was maybe 2 paragraphs long and that was it. Pretty much all the paragraphs said is sore throat and mono like symptoms, something about blood clots & can be serious. That's when I knew we were dealing with a nasty illness.
I know websites say this is a RARE disease but tell me how rare it really is when within 2 months of each other 2 children passed away from this thing not even 30 miles from each other and there is a yahoo support group for those who have survived it.
When Justin first was diagnosed w/this I did a lot of research and everyone I found that survived called this their "Near Death Experience!" I guess the people we should really be bringing awareness to are Doctors and Nurses.


Dana Prince said...

My brother in law had it just over a year ago but his symptoms didn't start with a sore throat. He woke up with a lemon sized lump in his throat because of the clot. That's probably what saved him because the doctors looked very closely at it. He survived and is now in good health. I am so sorry for your loss and the way your family is raising awareness is definitely going to help!

Your family is in my prayers.

db said...

As a physician who studies sore throats, I have an important question for you. What antibiotics did Justin take for his sore throat?

This information is most important. You can view the many entries I have written about Lemierre's on my blog -

rcentor said...

As a physician who studies sore throats, I have an important question for you. What antibiotics did Justin take for his sore throat?

This information is most important. You can view the many entries I have written about Lemierre's on my blog -

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about sending your story to Oprah? This type of story seems to be right in line with what her show strives to do, getting the word out on serious situations. And she definitely has the capability of hitting a huge amount of people. Good luck on your endeavors. I know your brother would be so proud of you.

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Justin's news article in the West Magazine

This was taken from

Rockwood student dies rapidly from little-known disease
By Diane Plattner

In April, Eureka High School student Justin Rodgers began to complain of a severe sore throat and was dead approximately one month later from an unfamiliar disease. Now, his mother hopes to spread awareness about the deadly disease.
Justin died in the early morning hours of May 12, the day after Mother’s Day, after losing a battle with Lemierre’s Syndrome, a serious bacteria that is not well-known and even doctors are prone to misdiagnose the disease. Unfortunately, Rodgers’ doctor was among that group after initially diagnosing him with strep throat on April 11, said Sheryl Rodgers, Justin’s mother.
“Justin had said, ‘Mom, this is the worst sore throat I’ve ever had in my life,’” Rodgers said.
She said that Justin’s doctor took no throat culture and gave her son medicine for strep throat. She said her son’s condition worsened over the next few days during which he had increased high fever, chest pain and a lump in his neck. On April 14, Rodgers took her son to St. Anthony’s Hospital, which transported him overnight to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital where he underwent extensive testing, including X-rays and blood work, Rodgers said.
Rodgers said that hospital officials diagnosed him with Lemierre’s Syndrome, a bacteria that can surface after mouth trauma. Last July, Justin was in a car accident that resulted in mouth injuries that required him to get major dental work, including a recent new tooth. In addition, Justin had suffered a broken nose just before the onset of his sore throat, his mother said.
“I wonder if all this woke up the bacteria, which was already living in the body,” Rodgers said.
The last time Rodgers saw him fully awake was a few days later, when hospital officials decided to place her son on a respirator and sedate him with drugs.
“He was out of it but still with us then,” Rodgers said. “He would frown when the doctors worked on him. So he had some responses.”
However, Justin’s lungs kept collapsing, prompting hospital doctors by April 25 to place him on an ECMO machine to help rest his lungs and heart. Doctors at that point also put him into an induced coma, Rodgers said.
“At that point there was no response from Justin,” Rodgers said. “Still, I talked to him and rubbed his sore spots to let him know we were there.”
By Mother’s Day, Justin was leaking too much blood, prompting doctors to decide to remove him from the ECMO, a move they said was risky if his lungs were not healed enough.
“Once they took him off the ECMO, Justin’s face was getting gray,” Rodgers said. “He was holding his own for a few hours, but then he starting going downhill.”
Justin died early the next morning following Mother’s Day with his immediate family, including three older siblings, by his side, Rodgers said.
“He was our baby,” Rodgers said. “I think the hospital tried to keep him going so he did not die on Mother’s Day.”
The tragedy is not the first for the Rodgers family. They also lost a 4-year-old child in a horseback riding accident and had a stillborn child many years ago, Rodgers said.
“I thought God could not possibly do this to us again,” Rodgers said. “I asked why again, why us. But there is no answer. Here we are walking on egg shells again.”
Rodgers said she was at least thankful that Justin’s funeral was so big that people were standing outside, a huge tribute to his life. She also hopes to honor his life with a campaign to help spread awareness about Lemierre’s Syndrome, which she said often hits people between the ages of 14 and 25. It is not spread by kissing but instead lives in the body, she said. Her goal is to make people, including doctors, more aware of its symptoms so they are not mistaken for strep throat.
“I do not want Justin to have died in vain,” Rodgers said. “This is one bad bacteria. It is very serious. People should not treat it lightly.”
To learn more about Lemierre’s Syndrome, visit the Rodgers’ family Web site at