Man loses feet, hand and fingers after battle with strep

It started with a case of strep throat and ended with amputation.  A Michigan man lost his left hand, multiple fingers on the right hand and both of his feet after contracting strep, according to WWJ in Detroit.

It started a couple of days after Christmas. Kevin Breen, 44, of Grand Rapids began to feel sick.  That turned to a sharp stomach pain led to a trip to the emergency room and a diagnosis of acute mild pancreatitis.  

During an exploratory surgery, doctors were baffled when they found 1.5 liters of pus in his stomach.  His blood was find.

His organs began shutting down, and his blood supply went from his extremities to his vital organs, leaving his hands and feet to die.

Doctors were stumped until a rash appeared on Kevin’s skin.   Knowing his son had recently had strep, doctors tested for it.  It came back positive and he was treated with penicillin.  It worked to fight off the infection, but it was too late for his hands and feet.

It’s extremely rare for strep to travel from the throat to the stomach.  It’s happened 32 times in history, but Kevin is only the second man that it’s happened to.

Kevin is back at home, but he’s unable to work so the family is living on his wife’s teaching salary.  A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family with hospital costs.

“Group A strep is a very, very…it’s a huge spectrum of what it can do. It’s extremely common, you know. Over a million cases are diagnosed every years just in the United States alone,” Steensma said, adding that most patients recover without any serious issues.

Breen has returned home, but he’s unable to work so the family is relying on his wife’s teaching salary. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with hospital costs.

Donors have raised more than $20,000 and included messages of hope and love. “Heartbreaking but the love of family and those cute little faces of your children will give you the strength to move forward. God Bless!” Marti Bowen wrote with her Go Fund Me donation.

And though facing extreme adversity, his family is staying positive.

“Life is forever going to be different,” Kevin’s wife told WOOD-TV.  “But different doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. It’s just going to be what we make it and we just have to figure it out, figure it out for our kids. Dad’s going to have cool hands, Dad’s going to have cool feet. We have to be positive.”

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