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Rare Bacterial Infection Strikes Again

The wife of South Gwinnett math teacher Mark Rinehart recently underwent surgery at Northside Hospital. Both hands and feet were amputated.

(Editor's note:  )

The Gwinnett Daily Post reported Saturday that Hannah Rinehart, a patient care technician at DeKalb Medical Hillandale, fell victim to a bacterial infection that claimed both her hands and lower legs.  

Rinehart developed aches and pains, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post, but once her fever broke the couple put their worries aside.  

When Hannah, a cancer survivor, went to see her oncologist for an appointment, Mark had to "carry her in."  

She has been comatose for weeks now.  

Mark has set up house in the ICU at Northside and rarely leaves her side. 

"Just played song we danced to at our wedding for my wife (in ICU for 20 days)," he tweeted on July 20.  "I asked if she knew I was crazy about her.  She nodded yes." 

At 5 p.m. Saturday, Mark posted the following report on Hannah's Facebook page:

"Just recently spoke with orthopedic surgeon (foot doctor). He took the wrappings off of Hannah's legs yesterday, and will look at them tomorrow, but wants to leave them covered today.

"From his perspective, everything concerning the legs looks fine. He did, however, mention that Hannah's fever and elevated white blood cell count was not typical for someone three days after coming out of surgery." 

Flesh-eating viruses and bacteria are extremely rare, so it's shocking to see two people linked to South Gwinnett with similar experiences.   after falling from a zip line and gashing her leg.

Hannah's infection was not caused by the same bacteria.  In fact, hers most likely came from the family dog and is caused by blood poisoning.  While the infection doesn't "eat" flesh, about 30 percent of people who develop it die.

"It is unbelievable that something so rare can hit a community twice in one summer," said Mayor Kelly Kautz in an email to Snellville Patch.  "My thoughts and prayers go out to this family."

Snellville Patch will provide further information as it is available.  

David Johnson July 29, 2012 at 11:18 PM
this was not a flesh eating bacteria... it was from a bacteria found in the mouth of dogs
David Johnson July 29, 2012 at 11:22 PM
please edit the title... the bacteria hannah has caused septic shock which led to the amputations of her hands and feet from an infection in the blood stream, which led to the amputations; it was in no way a flesh eating bacteria... the connection with copeland and hannah rinehart is the amputations, not the type of bacteria.
Crystal Huskey (Editor) July 30, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Thanks David.
Jamay Yost August 15, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Snellville put a great deal of energy into Amy Copeland. Now it is time to move on the the Rineharts. They,too, need financial help. They, too, should have their house improved for her..donated labor & materials. We need to consider all ctizensw, ot just one Jamay
Rev Keith T Johnson September 01, 2012 at 01:47 PM
great find.... I wondered... I pray for the loss, Might we all pray for awareness to our surroundings..
Rev Keith T Johnson September 01, 2012 at 01:48 PM
this is strange/?????
Pamela Mashburn September 15, 2012 at 01:13 PM
It's truly a shame....everyone got into helping aimee copeland, but nothing for hannah and her husband. Aimee's family had money, the rhinehart's didn't. People need to get their priorities straight and help people who really need it....i'm not saying it was wrong to help aimee...it was a wonderful thing....but look around you
Crystal Huskey (Editor) September 15, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Pamela, if you read through these stories, you'll see that there were quite a few fundraisers planned. http://snellville.patch.com/search?keywords=hannah+rinehart

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