Abu Dhabi patient beats flesh-eating bug after 54 days in hospital

Indian struck down with rare cepacia syndrome survives month-long intensive care stay

Dr. Niyas Khalid with his patient Nitesh Sadanand Madgaocar, 42, who beat a deadly bacterial infection at Burjeel Medical City. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

After 54 days in hospital, Indian driver Nitesh Madgaocar is finally on his way home after recovering from a rare and dangerous flesh-eating bug that kills three of four people it infects.

Mr Madgaocar, a UAE resident of 27 years, had returned to Abu Dhabi after a brief holiday in the last week of August.

The driver developed fever and weakness while quarantining in his room in Mussaffah.

Just two days later as a fever took hold, he was admitted to hospital and then the intensive care unit of Burjeel Medical City in Mohamed bin Zayed City.

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Any delay in diagnosing the case would have cost him his life
Dr Georgey Koshy

“When I fell ill, I hardly thought that it was going to be so serious,” said Mr Madgaocar.

“By the time I reached the hospital, my health had deteriorated considerably. I would not have come back to life if the doctors had not treated me well and spotted the condition early.”

Despite signs of recovery after a week and a return to a regular ward, his condition rapidly deteriorated and he was returned to the ICU and put on oxygen.

A lung x-ray of cepacia syndrome patient who does not have cystic fibrosis. Photo: © 2015 Naomi Hauser and Jose Orsini

When sores and abscesses appeared on his skin and joints, doctors suspected a serious infection. Subsequently he had his cepacia syndrome diagnosed – a potentially fatal condition affecting the respiratory system that can lead to multi-organ failure.

The first abscess had developed on the outside of his left knee, from which the doctors drained 90 millilitres of fluid.

Later, abscesses surfaced on different parts of Mr Madgaocar’s body, and he developed a severe blood clot on his lungs.

“My wife was scared and praying all the time for my recovery,” said Mr Madgaocar, who has a four year old daughter.

Nitesh Sadanand Madgaocar, 42 years old who has miraculously recovered from a deadly bacterial infection at Burjeel Medical City in Mohammed Bin Zayed City, Abu Dhabi. Khushnum Bhandari/ The Nationa

“I had asked her not to share the news with my mother as she would panic.

“My wife had to bear the pain all by herself.”

Cepacia syndrome is more commonly found in immuno-compromised people, such as those with cystic fibrosis, although it still only affects around 3 per cent of those with the condition.

It can be passed by direct human contact, and can offer minor symptoms or more severe reactions in those with existing health conditions or immunity disorders.

If untreated, the infection eats away at the tissue under the skin around muscles and nerves.

It can be difficult to treat as it becomes resistant to some antibiotics and can lead to respiratory failure.

Mr Madgaocar spent almost a month in intensive care as doctors helped him fight the infection.

“Nitesh’s was a highly complicated case,” said Dr Georgey Koshy, the hospital’s medical director.

“Any delay in diagnosing the case would have cost him his life.

“Thankfully, Nitesh has recovered completely and is now fit and healthy.”

Updated: December 6th 2021, 11:09 AM