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Rare brain disease: 18 hospital patients possibly exposed to incurable disease

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A rare brain disease, which kills 90 percent of its victims, has 18 North Carolina hospital patients with a deadly worry today after they learn they may have been exposed to the disease. Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center announced the possible exposure to the rare brain disease after finding instruments used on 18 patients were not properly sterilized, according to "Fox and Friends" live on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

At a press conference the president of Winston-Salem hospital, Jeff Lindsay, announced that as many as 18 patients may have been exposed to an incurable and often deadly brain disorder, reports Fox News website.

This disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is similar to the Mad Cow disease that is seen in bovines, but it isn't the same strain as Mad Cow. The disease kills 90 percent of its victims and the symptoms, include dementia, which is a scary possibility for anyone.

The CDC is calling the risk "very low," but for the18 people any risk of getting this disease due to a hospital slip-up is a gigantic weight hanging over their heads. It was back in the middle of January when a neurosurgical procedure was done on a patient who was later diagnosed with the disease.

The surgical tools were sterilized using the hospital''s typical procedures, but an enhanced process that is used for Creutzfeldt-Jakob was not done. Lindsey said, "We recognize that the risk to the patients is very small. However, we take any potential exposure seriously."

One can't imagine that this offers any solace to the 18 folks who are facing this risk, no matter how low. A young mother, Amanda Morin, was contacted by the hospital and told of the risk. She had gone in for back surgery and is one of the 18 patients today who are being monitored for this possible brain disease.

Morin said:

“I have a two year old to live for and mommy might not be here,” Morin told the station. “I am angry; very, very angry something so little could cost me my life. I want grandkids. I want to be there for them.”

The symptoms of the rare brain disease are:

Dementia

Impaired vision

Involuntary movement

Coma

While Morin is only one of the 18 patients facing this possibility today, you can just imagine how they must be feeling. Although the chance of contracting the rare disease is low for these folks, any chance at all is one scary thing to face.

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