Betül Yasemin Keskin / Milliyet.com.tr – Adam Retmock was 45 years old and had congenital heart disease. It had been many years since he learned to live with this disease and understood what he had to do. However, last September, his heart reached a point where it could no longer keep him alive.. That’s why he had to have a new, healthy heart through heart transplant surgery. That’s what happened, Retmock was admitted to the full-fledged Prince Charles Hospital in Australia. Retmock, whose surgery was very successful, died due to a completely different problem while he was still in the recovery phase.. The Retmock family blames the hospital, but hospital officials deny all accusations. Retmock left only one question in mind: ‘Where did this mushroom come from?’
Adam Retmock and his wife Kelly Richars
ALL WERE CAUGHT WITH FUNGAL DISEASE
Adam Retmock has been waiting for a heart transplant for many years. Finally, the heart that would fit him 100% was found. Retmock and his wife Kelly Richards were so happy… After that surgery, what he had been going through for years would come to an end. The man underwent surgery, and 4 more people had organ transplant surgery with him that day. All 5 of their surgeries were successful and they were counting the days to recovery. But something unexpected happened. The complication was not related to the surgery, it was something completely uncontrollable.
It happened like this: Adam Retmock came out of surgery, everything was fine in the first days, but in the first week after the surgery, something started to go wrong on the Retmock front. During Retmock’s examinations, doctors observed that a fungal infection had occurred in his body.
‘THERE IS NOTHING TO WORRY BUT…’
Doctors told both Adam and Kelly to stay calm and that there was nothing to worry about, the situation was under control. He was prescribed antifungal medications and antibiotics and underwent surgery in which surgeons fractured his sternum to remove infected tissue. Despite everything, he had full faith that he would be fine, until that moment.
Adam Retmock lost hope that he would recover after he accidentally saw the news. It was stated in the news that a patient who had an organ transplant surgery at the same time as him died as a result of a fungal infection in the hospital where he was hospitalized.. Retmock, who was worried when he heard this news, did not receive answers to any of the questions he asked the hospital officials and, moreover, learned that he was on the list of five heart transplant patients who contracted a fungal infection in the hospital. There were others who had surgery at about the same time and caught the infection, and one of them died.
Just 2 weeks after all these events, Retmock also passed away. His family, who blamed the hospital, did not receive any response from the authorities. Kelly Richards made the following statement about the hospital management, which allegedly took no responsibility after Retmock died while he was alive:
“Initially, we were told that there was nothing to worry about, which gave us great relief. But after this conversation, it became clear very quickly that this was something very serious. Retmock learned about the death through the media. He should have learned from the hospital. He said the problem was from the news.” “It was very scary to find out how serious he was. He was such a brave person and endured so much in his life.”
Shortly after Adam Retmock’s death, it was revealed that the infection of three of the patients affected by the fungal disease in the same hospital developed before September, and that there were two more cases in October.
HOSPITAL MANAGEMENT DID NOT ACCEPT
In his statement after these events, the hospital’s Infectious Diseases Specialist Alex Chaudhuri said that in the air quality test in the hospital, there were no fungal spores at a level that would justify infection concerns. He said ‘some fungal spores’ were found in an area where organ transplant equipment was stored, but the discovery was not linked to infection.
Hospital management expressed its ‘sincere condolences’ to Retmock’s family, but underlined that after ‘extensive testing’ there was no link between the hospital and ‘fungal infections detected in five heart transplant patients’.
Speaking for Retmock, spokesperson Jane Hancock said: “The patient appears to have suffered a number of complications after the transplant. Transplant patients are some of our most vulnerable patients and can be susceptible to a variety of diseases and infections in the community, especially when they return home. We continue to operate transparently and communicate with all transplant patients.” “We want our patients to know that we take all precautions to ensure they are safe in society,” he said.
Following this incident, Retmock’s family stated that they were not satisfied with the hospital’s statement in any way, while the hospital management insisted that they had no connection with the issue, so to speak. After this sad event, we turned our attention to organ transplant surgeries. The experienced name of organ transplants who answered our questions, General Surgery Specialist Prof. Dr. Onur Yaprak See what points he drew attention to.
‘IT IS NOT TRANSMITTED FROM THE OUTSIDE, THE BODY CAN ALSO PRODUCE ITSELF’
Drawing attention to the treatment process of a patient who had an organ transplant, Prof. Dr. Onur Yaprak informed that after the organ transplantation, immune-lowering drugs are first given to prevent transplant-related organ rejection. “With this method, patients’ immunity is suppressed and they become susceptible to infections. Some of these infections may be bacterial, some may be viral, and some may be fungal infections.” Yaprak said, emphasizing the post-transplant period. In the first 3-6 months after transplantation, antifungal drugs called antibiotics, antivirals and antifungals are given to patients to protect them from infection. However, in the postoperative period, even though patients are in intensive care, fungal infections may occur in various parts of the body, depending on the transplanted organ. Prof. Dr. Leaf, “This is not a fungal infection transmitted from outside, but fungi that can occur spontaneously in the body and can be in every healthy person. These are not normally aggressive, but they become aggressive when immunity decreases.” He made a statement.
So, what should the treatment process be like for patients who have had organ transplants? What is the importance of sterilization in the hospital at the point that brings them back to real life after transplantation? Prof. Dr. Onur Yaprak explained this process as follows: “Each patient has a hospitalization and treatment process depending on the organ transplant. In order to prevent the body from rejecting the transplanted organ, medications are started to suppress the side effects that may occur, as well as drugs that suppress immunity. Patients learn the usage hours of these medications and a schedule is created accordingly. It is very important to adjust the blood level of drugs, especially after organ transplantation. “In fact, the reason why patients continue to stay in the hospital even if they recover is because this level is adjusted.”
‘WE DO THE SAME TESTS ON THE COMPANION’
Yaprak stated that the surgeries were performed in a sterile environment, and that the rooms and beds where the patients were placed after the surgery went through a separate sterilization process. “Patients are kept in isolation. No visitors are allowed in their rooms, we do not allow the accompanying companion to be changed, and we perform the same tests on the companion as we do on the patient.” he said. Finally, Prof. Dr. Yaprak informed that patients can continue their normal lives after going home, but they come to the hospital for check-ups at certain periods throughout their lives.