NFL Giants Tight End Daniel Fells has encountered a possibly limb or life threatening infection in his foot. Reports state that he has already undergone five previous limb salvage procedures to ward off infection, and he is still under close watch. This is a potentially career ending injury for the 32 year old Fells.
Other reports state that Fells was treated for a toe injury, in addition to a subsequent ankle injury, with a cortisone injection, but after minimal relief and a dramatic increase in temperature of 104 degrees, he was taken to the Emergency Department (ED) on October 2. It was at the ED that he was diagnosed with Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).
MRSA, the bacterial infection that Fells is struggling to fight off, is a resistant strain of the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus (Staph). This means that there are very few drugs (antibiotics) that can kill or stop the infection. This bacteria, if left untreated, can lead to amputations and possibly death.
MRSA can be found most anywhere, and is frequently found in hospitals and community settings. The bacteria can enter through the smallest of cuts or scrapes. Of the patients that I have treated with MRSA, being proactive was key in life and limb saving measures.
The bacteria is especially problematic because it is difficult to treat. Historically, the bacteria could only be controlled with intravenous antibiotics. This would typically require admission to the hospital in order to receive treatment or the insertion of an in-dwelling catheter in order to administer the antibiotics on an out-patient basis. Either way, treatment involves great expense. There are newer, oral antibiotics to treat MRSA, and this has been helpful in decreasing costs associated with treating the infection; however, these medications themselves are very expensive.
Community acquired MRSA is common in settings where people are in close contact, for example locker rooms and class rooms. Anyone can get MRSA through direct contact with an infected wound or by sharing personal items, such as towels or razors, that have touched infected skin. MRSA infection risk can be increased when a person is in certain activities or places that involve crowding, skin-to-skin contact, and shared equipment or supplies. This might include athletes, daycare and school students, military personnel in barracks, and people who recently received inpatient medical care.
Good hygiene is critical, and early treatment is also important. Anyone who is in an environment where MRSA is more likely to occur need to bring the problem to the attention of a qualified health care professional as soon as possible. Delay can greatly effect to course and success of treatment.
My thoughts and prayers are with Daniel and the entire Fells family. I know he is receiving the very best of care and wish him a speedy recovery.