Joan Peay, 73, of Nashville, fought off the infection the first time after enduring multiple hospital stays and being put on a debilitating anti-fungal medication after contracting the infection by way of a tainted injection of spinal steroids in September 2012, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Monday.
After months of treatment, Peay was given a clean bill of health but she experienced increasingly painful headaches over the summer. In August, doctors performed a surgery on her nasal cavity to remove scar tissue they thought was causing the headaches but the procedure was to no avail, her son, Trent Johnson, said.
A spinal tap was performed and Peay's white blood cell count was 8,000 -- typically it would be about 10 -- confirming a relapse of the infection.
Johnson said the anti-fungal medication has chemotherapy-like side effects.
"She has slurred speech, trouble eating and can't walk on her own. She is in much worse condition now than she ever was," Johnson said.
The family has sued the St. Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center where Peay allegedly received the tainted injection that caused the initial infection.
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