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Horror Heart Transplant: Woman Eaten Alive by Mysterious Fungus

Posted by: katalysis

By Alixandra Caole Vila

Nov 04, 2016 06:04 AM EDT

Inside the ICU

Nobody knows how Shelby got the mold infection. Following her case, at least two other patients from the same hospital died. 
(Photo : Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

Weeks after getting a heart transplant, Shelby Slagle, died from a mold infection.


As reported by News.Au, Shelby was born with a hole on her heart, and it took her 27 years before finally having a normal heart beat. On May 3, 2015, she finally underwent a heart transplant surgery at UPMC Presbyterian hospital. But hope turned to horror when she started to get mold infection. 

Report from The Tribune-Review said Shelby was making full recovery and that the operation went well. But the slump began weeks later when doctors noticed a bedsore on her back side that had some sort of infection.

"It got progressively worse," Laurie Amick, her mother, told the publication. "Eventually, she had to go to surgery every day. They would take out more tissue and removed most of her buttocks. The infection had gotten so deep. It had eaten down through the skin, the muscle and started to get to the bone."

Her heart and whole body was devoured by fungus and the doctors could not identify where it came from. A week later, she succumbed to death.

Following Shelby's case, at least two other patients, Tracy Fischer, 47, and Che DuVall, 70, were treated for the same reason. They eventually died too. Shelby, and the two other patients were housed in the same room, known as "Bed 3."

"Bed 3," is supposed to be a negative-pressure room, where patient with infectious diseases are meant to be contained.

A lawsuit against the hospital was filed by Shelby's husband. On August of the same year, they settled the lawsuit for US$1.35 million.

The mysterious infection was referred to by doctors as rhizopus, defined as cosmopolitan filamentous fungus frequently isolated from soil, decaying fruit and vegetables, animal feces, and old bread. 

In September 2015, UPMC shut down its transplant program for six days to be investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.