The University of Maryland patient who received the first known spinal prosthesis from Maryland surgeon Charles C. Edwards, MD (JAMA [MEDICAL NEWS] 242:1831-1837, 1979) is dead as a result of a severe kidney infection and subsequent meningitis and septic shock. The patient, a 33-year-old mother of two, had a history of kidney difficulties. She had been at home for more than a month when a Pseudomonas infection occurred, forcing rehospitalization.
According to University of Maryland hospital officials, at the time of her death the patient remained free of any recurrence of the giant cell spinal tumor, the removal of which had necessitated Edwards' pioneering procedure. By all accounts the custommade spinal prosthesis was a success, giving the patient steadily improving mobility.
"Her courage opened new avenues of surgical treatment to other patients," says Edwards.
One avenue was immediately evident in the referral of a 30-year-old Illinois man to Edwards last