Dad loses hands, feet to rare strep infection case

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What started as a stomach ache almost killed a young dad, costing him his hands and feet. (WPVI)

A Michigan father has had the first operation to amputate his hands and feet.

He is losing them to a rare case of strep infection.

Kevin Breen first went to the doctor at Christmas time with stomach pains.

A CT scan showed infection in Breen's abdomen, but doctors couldn't tell what it was.

They operated and removed a liter and a half of pus.

But Breen's condition didn't improve.

In fact, his internal organs began to fail, and at one point, his wife Julie was told to gather the family and prepare for the worst.

After a rash appeared on Breen's chest, doctors recalled his son had strep throat in December.

They ran a test and found a common sign of strep in his belly.

To save Breen's life, doctors redirected his blood supply, sacrificing his hands and feet.

The strategy worked.

Breen's hands and feet are black now, and have lost almost all movement.

But he is thankful to be alive, and now the family is looking toward a new phase in their lives.

"Life is forever going to be different, but different doesn't necessarily have to be bad. It's just going to be what we make it, and we just have to figure it out, figure it out for our kids," said wife Julie Breen.

Dr. Elizabeth Steensma of Spectrum Health thinks the strep bacteria went from Breeen's throat to his stomach.

She's found 32 cases of strep traveling that way - most in women - where it traveled from the urinary tract.

Breen is one of only two men in the world who have had such cases.

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