A Michigan man who initially went to the doctors with simple stomach pains will have his hands and feet amputated due to a rare case of strep throat.
Kevin Breen had always been healthy and active before he started feeling sick on Christmas day. The 44-year-old from Grand Rapids brushed it off for a few days until the pains in his stomach sent him to the emergency room, WOOD reported.
After medicine failed to quell his symptoms, Breen returned to the hospital the following day. Because he was showing signs of a ruptured ulcer, doctors opted to perform an exploratory surgery during which they discovered about 1.5 liters of infected pus in his abdomen, according to a GoFundMe page set up for the father-of-two’s medical bills.
“He was one of the sickest patients I have ever taken care of,” said Dr. Elizabeth Steensma, an acute surgeon at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital.
His organs started to fail, so doctors redirected blood flow in his body, leaving the flesh on his feet and hands to die, according to the news station.
Medical professionals worked to identify the origin of the pus, thinking initially it was caused by a punctured organ — but they couldn’t find anything.
“It was almost a mystery,” Steensma told WOOD.
Finally, doctors were gifted a clue by way of a rash on Breen’s stomach.
Knowing their patient’s son recently overcame strep throat, medical staff ran a test on Breen and learned he had the same exact infection — except his had traveled from his throat to his stomach.
There have been 32 cases of a strep infection making its way down to the abdomen, with only two of them involving men, Steensma told WOOD.
While the illness came as shock, Breen said he’s not bitter and that he’s simply happy to be alive.
“Life is forever going to be different,” his wife told the news station. “But different doesn’t necessarily have to be bad.”
This story originally appeared on nydailynews.com