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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Justin's News Article

My mom just called and told me Justin's story made it out today in the West Magazine in the Rockwood area. I copied the article from the site and put it towards the bottom of this page.

My Cousin Jessica had a GREAT idea!!! It was to email or mail letters to all the University Hospital's around the US. I googled University Hospitals and already sent 7 emails. So far I hit SLU, Upstate NY, Cincinnati OH, Cleveland, and TX. I think I sent 5 emails to different people at Upstate NY. My goal is to try to send out 5 emails every other day to different people at different University Hospitals.

Thank you for helping me spread the word! Who knows we may have already saved a life! I had someone tell me they know someone whose teenager was sick with a sore throat and the Dr couldn't figure out what they had. That person sent them to my website. And my mom had someone do the same thing. If we have saved 1 or 2 lives from this website and its only been 2 weeks, can you imagine what will happen if we keep this up!! Its going to take a lot of people and a lot of time to bring awareness to this illness but I know we can do it!

Love to all, Tammy


Jeff T said...

I am a medical student - and have never heard of Lemierre's Syndrome. I'm sorry for your loss, what Justin went through was truly tragic. Your website has now armed me with the knowledge of a disease I may not have known about until it was too late, so thank you for spreading the knowledge.

Anonymous said...

I read your article in West NewsMagazine today and it broke my heart to hear about this horrible tragedy - not to mention the fact that you have already lost two children prior to Justin. I've lost a child myself and cannot even imagine the pain your family must be going through - I'm sure you are asking God why this is happening yet again to you. Keep getting the word out, I would even try "The Today Show" or "Oprah." This needs national attention. Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

I just read the West News article and wanted to send my condolences. I have a 9 year old daughter and when I read this about your son, it just hits home how fragile life is. I also lost a child (premature son in 1981) and your statement about "God could not possibly do this to us again" always hits me hard ; I have the 9 year old and two much older children, and yes, I can't imagine He would take one of them too, but you are proof that it happens. God Bless and God Speed. Sue W, Chesterfield, MO

Anonymous said...

I read your article about justin's death from Lemierre's Syndrome the day after mothers day. I want to extend my heartfelt sorrow to your family. Thank you for sharing your story and loss about this unknown disease. Your whole family is in my prayers, God bless you.

Anonymous said...

I read your article in the newspaper and it makes me so sad that you have already lost two children, and now justin. From reading your article I know now about Lemierre's syndrom. You have my prayers to your family. I cannot imagine the pain you must bear in your heart for your lost children. God bless you and your family.
my best wishes to you.

Anonymous said...

Send that email again, maybe to Cleveland Clinic. There is one 18 year old from Stark County who just was transferred up there from Mercy Medical in Canton. Awareness is so important

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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