This article by Dr. Steve Claypool, Medical Director of POC Advisor at Wolters Kluwer, Health is part of LinkedIn's Hard Cases series, where medical professionals share the toughest challenges they've faced in their careers.
Early in my career, while I was doing a critical care fellowship, I had two very emotionally involved cases of sepsis.
In both cases the patients were in their twenties. The first case was a young man from a rural area that was brought to Minneapolis for emergency care. He rapidly developed sepsis requiring mechanical ventilation, presser support and hemodialysis. He required full support for weeks, but his infectious illness was a mystery. Despite multiple infectious disease consultations, including assistance from national experts at the CDC and Mayo Clinic, we never determined the etiology. The working hypothesis was a tick-borne illness, but he tested negative for rare diseases such as anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis and a myriad of other infections.