A Lake Macquarie man will have his hands and feet amputated after suffering catastrophic complications from a streptococcus infection.
Aaron Dalley, 42, is expected to undergo surgery at Royal North Shore (RNS) Hospital in the next few days, seven weeks after first displaying mild flu-like symptoms.
Mr Dalley was transferred from Wyong Hospital to Gosford Hospital, and then to RNS as his condition deteriorated. During that near-fatal decline, Mr Dalley’s heart, kidneys, lungs and liver suffered various degrees of failure. At one point, doctors advised Mr Dalley’s family to say their goodbyes to him.
Sister Nicole Weekes said Mr Dalley’s initial symptoms belied the seriousness of his illness.
“I’d seen Aaron a couple of days before he went to hospital and he just looked like he had a touch of the flu,” Ms Weekes said.
It was only when their father, Terry, a registered nurse, saw his son’s grey pallor that they called an ambulance. Mr Dalley was treated at Wyong Hospital, but his condition worsened and he was transferred to Gosford the next day.
“Doctors at Gosford sat Mum, Dad and I down and said they really didn’t expect Aaron to live,” Ms Weekes said.
She said the news rocked the family.
“They didn’t know at that point what was wrong with him. They just listed all of the things that had shut down with him.”
Mr Dalley was placed in an induced coma for 12 days.
“It was touch and go the whole time. He went into heart failure three times.”
Doctors said Mr Dalley had contracted pneumonia, sepsis (a blood infection), and a bacterial infection in his heart valve, Ms Weekes said. “They said it was a super bug.”
Mr Dalley spent four weeks in ICU at Gosford, and received dialysis every second day.
Doctors said he had also suffered toxic shock. His hands and feet swelled and blackened.
“Aaron’s going to lose his feet, his left hand at the wrist, and three-quarters of his right hand,” Ms Weekes said. “They’re going to try to rebuild his right hand to at least give him a pincher so that he can go to the toilet and feed himself.”
A Go Fund Me page had been set up to help with the costs of Mr Dalley’s recovery and possible modifications to his home. To donate visit www.gofundme.com/azas-big-battle.
“There’s a huge support network for Aaron in the community,” Ms Weekes said.
She urged people not to be complacent about their health.
“If you’re not well, don’t leave it – particularly with streps,” she said. “It can be fixed if dealt with early.”