- After a man arrived at a hospital in India complaining of trouble urinating, doctors found he had developed gangrene. They also diagnosed him with severe chicken pox, according to a study in BMJ Case Reports.
- The patient went two weeks without being diagnosed or treated for the chicken pox and as a result he developed gangrene on his penis, scrotum, and right leg.
- Doctors gave him antibiotics and performed surgery, but he died three days later.
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After a 23-year-old man arrived at a hospital in India complaining of trouble urinating, doctors found he also had developed gangrene, a condition where bacteria limits blood flow and kills body tissue,.
Doctors ran tests and found that the man had developed gangrene due to a case of untreated chicken pox he got two weeks before he arrived at the hospital, according to a case study in BMJ Case Reports.
The gangrene had spread from the patient’s penis and scrotum down to his right leg and he also had ulcers on his stomach, scalp, chest, and left knee.
According to the doctors who treated him, severe cases of chicken pox that lead to gangrene are extremely rare and less than 10 cases have ever been reported. Gangrene chicken pox, which is medically known as varicella gangrenosum, occurs when the itchy and swollen red spots characteristic of chicken pox become infected with bacteria.
The bacterial infection, if left untreated with antibiotics, can become so severe it will attack and ultimately kill the body’s tissue. Signs of gangrene include discolored skin, swelling of the skin, blisters, pain, and numbness, according to the Mayo Clinic. Skin with gangrene can also look shiny, thin, and hairless.
In the case of this patient, his infected skin turned black and had a thin, shiny, and swollen appearance. In an attempt to treat him, doctors gave him a course of antibiotics including penicillin and also performed surgery to remove dead tissue from his penis, stomach, and right leg.
In minor gangrene cases, surgery can repair scarring and help reconstruct areas with dead tissue. In severe cases, surgery could mean amputating parts of the body where too much tissue died. Usually, this happens with extremities like feet and hands.
Unfortunately, the man’s gangrenous chicken pox has become so severe, he went into organ failure and died three days following surgery.
According to the Mayo Clinic, if someone notices gangrene symptoms, they should see a doctor right away for treatment. Doctors can then diagnose them and provide treatment like antibiotics and oxygen therapy to help with blood flow that keeps tissue alive.
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