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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Justin's article

Well between my sister, Stephanie and I think we went to close to 30 stores trying to get our hands on a New York Times. I finally was told the magazine actually comes inside the news paper and that you can find the news paper in the boxes outside the stores. Anyway I never did get my hands on one but Stephanie says she bought some for us. We are also going to call Dr Lisa Sanders (the Author of our article) and see if she could send us some. I think I'm going to call some places tomorrow to see if we can get our hands on a couple more. I didn't realize how spread out they are. I thought it was kind of like the Post Dispatch everyone sold them. Anyway it is a GREAT informational piece! Thank you so much Dr. Sanders for helping us get our word out!

Love, Tammy

1 comment:

Lhogue said...

Hi Tammy,
I am so sorry to read of your brother's death from Lemierre's Syndrome. Last September my 20 year old son Corey moved to Steamboat Springs, Co from upstate NY to live with his oldest brother. Around Thanksgiving he developed "the worst sore throat I ever had", as well as other symptoms. He saw a Dr about a week later, who tested for strep (negative), gave him 3 different anitbiotics, and sent him home. Finally on Dec 8th his brother called me to say he was worried about him-went to check on him, and was horrified to see he was completely yellow. I had him rush him to the local hospital, who drew blood cultures, stabilized him, and transferred him to Swedish Medical Center in Denver. He was in multiple system failure-respiratory, renal, liver, and was septic of course. I flew out as soon as possible which was the next day, and I didn't think I would see him alive. However, he was hanging on by the slimmest of threads, each hour was a gift. He was so fragile. He endured crisis after crisis, was on a vent and eventually had a tracheostomy, had 3 chest tubes installed, etc. Seeing the photos of your brother was like seeing my son. The hospital had a team of 7 doctors working on his case, and after about a day and a half diagnosed Lemierre's. The blood culture drawn in Steamboat was the only positive culture of all the cultures that were taken. I was told he was the 6th case in that hospital in 2007, and it is on the rise again because penicillin is rarely prescribed as treatment for sore throats, and of course this is the drug of choice for Fusobacterium. My son spent 17 days on a respirator, and on Christmas Eve stood for a couple of seconds. On Christmas Day he sat in a chair for about 20 minutes, what a Christmas gift. On the 27th he was moved out of ICU, eventually entered rehab to learn to walk again. On Jan 9th, 31 days after being admitted, he was discharged to convalesce back in NY. Another brother accompanied him on his journey, seeing to all of his medical needs( I had returned home on Jan 2), and after months of treatment, care, and work is now is 100% recovered. The clot in his jugular vein shrank, but it is permanent, the bed sores on his heels finally healed after months of treatment, and he gained back the 40 pounds he lost. I give full credit for his recovery to the wonderful staff at Swedish, they really went above and beyond. I'm so sorry your brother's story ends so tragically, but the work you are doing is fantastic. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Carolyn Tillquist at 950 E Harvard Ave, Ste 690, Colorado Infectious Disease, Denver, CO 80210 is very knowledgeable about the syndrome, and might be a good point of contact for you in the Colorado area. Best of luck to you and your family, please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you.
Lisa Hogue

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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