Legionnaire’s Survivor Gets Prosthetics To Replace Lost Legs, Arm

CHICAGO (CBS) — He thought he simply had a high fever, but a Round Lake Beach man actually had Legionnaire’s Disease, a deadly form of pneumonia that nearly killed him.

An infection stemming from his treatment cost 55-year-old Kent Carson both his legs and one arm. On Tuesday, he received prosthetic limbs at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports Carson has no idea how he got Legionnaire’s Disease.

“It could have been in a shopping mall, or outside somewhere, and the wind was blowing the wrong direction, and I happened to breathe it in, and this is what happened,” Carson said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

He lost both legs and an arm to an infection stemming from his treatment, and was given a 10 percent chance of survival.

His son, Brennen, recalled the night his father’s heart stopped.

“At that particular moment, when his heart stopped, I called the rest of my family. I said, ‘Hey, you guys need to hurry up and get up here, because I don’t know if he has much longer,’” Brennen said.

After going into a month-long coma, and suffering the failure of his most vital organs, a stroke, and the loss of three limbs, Kent has been fitted with new prosthetic legs and a prosthetic arm, and given a second chance.

“I’m able to walk. I can’t look at that I don’t have two legs, I don’t have an arm; I’m looking at it that I’m able to still walk around,” he said.

After some tweaking, doctors at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago said it’s graduation day for Kent.

“To me, it’s a miracle,” Brennen said.

“He’s just a fighter,” his fiancée Cheryl Johnstone said.

Legionnaire’s is contracted from water or water vapor in places like water fountains, or air conditioners. Doctors still don’t know how Kent got it, because unless there is a major outbreak, health officials don’t trace the source.

Kent’s family has talked to members of Congress, hoping to change that.

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