Mike's Case

Mike was trying to get help to find out what was wrong with him. Initially his symptoms seemed flu like. He was in and out of the doctor's office, blood work, ultra sound, CT scan, chest x-ray. It seemed that no one had any answers for him. The flu like symptoms continued but Mike was able to work until a week before he died.

The following is a series of notes recorded by us from Mike's interpretation of doctor's comments and by what we saw and heard ourselves.

This information is provided as an educational tool only in the hope it may help to save the life of someone with this disease.

June 16, 2006

Mike was unable to get an appointment with his own doctor so he went to see another doctor in the same clinic. Mike thought he may have a urinary tract or bladder infection—urine dark some discomfort. Doctor ordered blood work, took urine sample and put Mike on a 5 day antibiotic—Ciproflaxin (CiproXL) 500mg.

June 21, 2006

Follow up with same doctor he saw on the 16th - the doctor told Mike that he did not know what was going on. There was blood in his urine, may be kidney stones - orders ultra sound.

June 27, 2006

Mike went to see his own doctor to explain what was happening. By this time Mike was having night sweats. Had more blood work done.

June 29, 2006

Mike had an ultra sound 1:30 pm - he requested the results be sent to his own doctor.

June 30, 2006

Mike went back to his own doctor—ultra sound results are not back yet. Doctor put Mike on 25 mg of Indomethacin. Mike took his first dose evening of June 30th.

July 3, 2006

Evening - Mike said he was not feeling well, I wondered about the prescription as I would have thought Mike would be feeling better by then if the drug was the right one - if it was working for him.

July 4, 2006

Mike said he was ok to go to work although he was not feeling great. I suggested to Mike that he stop taking the medicine. I had just read the information sheets the pharmacist had provided with warnings and possible side effects of indomethacin. I was very concerned as Mike seemed to be getting sicker since starting this medication. I wondered why I hadn't read the sheets sooner. Mike stopped using the indomethacin. Evening - vomiting and I think diarrhea & Mike had a rash all over his face. He had a doctor's appointment for next day. This was the last day Mike worked.

July 5, 2006

Mike's dad drove him to his doctor's appointment. Mike was very tired, still had flu like symptoms plus some back and abdomen discomfort. Mike talked to doctor about taking some time off work until he feels better. He was given a note for his employer. Mike told doctor that he had discontinued using the medication. He said doctor did not think the face rash was due to medication. Mike was sent for a chest x-ray and more blood work.

July 7, 2006

Doctor called Mike. I answered the phone and told the doctor that Mike was really not feeling well. He spoke to Mike saying he had ordered a CT scan and new ultra sound - still had not received results from original ultra sound.

July 8, 2006

Mike had a sore neck for past day off and on plus headaches, and some nausea. Dad took Mike to walk-in at his medical clinic as we are concerned he may have some type of meningitis. Doctor told Mike that he did not have meningitis and it was likely the flu on top of whatever else he had.

July 10, 2006

I took Mike to appointment with his doctor. Mike asked me to go in with him. Mike was nauseous—couldn't drive. Dr. spoke to Mike about results of tests said he had some kind of pneumonia - possibly eosinophilic pneumonia. He gave us a list of things this could indicate. I asked about Cryptococcus. Doctor said nothing in the tests that were done indicated Cryptococcus. Mike and I told doctor about Mike's neck pain, headaches & nausea - and that Mike had been to the walk in clinic on Sat. 8th. Doctor checked Mike's neck and said he didn't think there was meningitis. He told Mike if pain got worse to go to emergency. We told the doctor that Mike was only able to keep fluids down over the past couple of days, did not want any solid food.

July 11, 2006

I took Mike to the hospital for his CT scan. Mike was still very nauseous. Mike said he did not sleep well last night. In the evening Mike was very tired. He said his legs were aching and felt restless he thought maybe it was because he had been laying around so much for past couple of days.

July 12, 2006

Mike said he did not sleep well again.
A.M. - I was concerned about him using our stairs, as he was still nauseous and now quite weak too. I suggested we go directly to emergency but he reminded me that he had a doctor's appointment at 10:00 am. He said he wanted to keep the appointment. He felt that the doctor could get him into the hospital faster if that is what was needed instead of waiting in emergency.

When we were walking across parking lot to go into the doctor's office he suddenly got very weak, said he could not walk further. I assisted Mike into the office. Mike was short of breath, very pale. The doctor called an ambulance after checking Mike.

In emergency I asked again if they would check Mike for Cryptococcus. I was asked why, I explained he was out of doors a lot, hiking etc. and I just felt that he may have it. When the I.C.U. doctor came to emergency, I again explained my reasons to him. He agreed to check Mike.

That afternoon Mike and I were told by the ICU doctor that Mike did have Cryptococcus gattii. At this point, I did not realize that I could lose my son from this disease but it had conquered my son's body. Mike's lungs and central nervous system were infected by C. gattii.
Mike died that same evening - July 12, 2006 at the age of 26.

The care Mike received at our local hospital on the last day of his life was outstanding. We will always be grateful to the doctors, nurses and other medical personnel in the Emergency Room and Intensive Care Unit who tried their best to save Mike's life.

A Coroner's Inquiry was done into Mike's death.
Cause of death - Disseminated Cryptocossus caused by Cryptococcus gattii infection.

This disease has symptoms that are similar to many other diseases.
For people living in or visiting this area – if you have some of the symptoms provided on the websites and doctors/medical imaging cannot provide an early diagnosis, we feel it would be prudent to eliminate the possibility of C. gattii by testing for it before using resources and time looking for other illnesses. Mike was not tested for C. gattii until he was admitted to the I.C.U unit of the local hospital.

Early diagnosis is very important in order to have a positive outcome. It is important to remember that C. gattii very often infects immunocompetent people—healthy people. Mike was a healthy—immunocompetent—person. He was young and should have had everything on his side to beat this disease.

For more information on Cryptococcus gattii please visit the More About C. gattii page on this website.