Brisbane: Second patient dies from fungal infection at Prince Charles Hospital

The second of a cluster of patients to contract a deadly fungal infection in a Brisbane hospital has died only six weeks after receiving a lifesaving heart transplant.

Adam Retmock, 45, was one of five patients at The Prince Charles Hospital involved in the infection cluster and the second to have succumbed to the illness.

He is survived by his devastated wife Kelly Richards, who told 7 News that her husband was unable to endure the ongoing pain inflicted by post-surgery complications.

“After the transplant there were a number of complications … Adam had acquired a fungal infection,” Ms Richards said.

Despite weeks of treatments and procedures to try to treat the infection, Mr Retmock died in hospital on Friday November 10.

“He said, ‘I’m done, I’ve just, I cannot continue this level of suffering’,” Ms Richards said.

“My understanding is that if he hadn’t contracted this infection he would still be here.

“That last week of his life could have been so much better.”

A hospital spokesperson told NCA NewsWire that reviews of the other four cases who acquired fungal infections at the Brisbane hospital were in their “early stages”.

“Despite extensive testing, no link has been established between the fungal infections identified in the five heart transplant patients and the hospital,” they said.

“It is understood the patient was experiencing several complications following the transplant.

“Transplant patients are some of our most vulnerable patients and can be susceptible to various illnesses and infections in the community, especially once they return home.”

While the other four patients, who were all transplant patients, were sent home, Mr Retmock never left the hospital.

All of the affected patients were placed on prophylactic antifungal treatment.

Early analysis has identified four different strains of fungal infection among the five patients, only one of which was the strain found at The Prince Charles Hospital.

It was also reported by 7 News that a high fungal reading was found in the area that stored equipment used to retrieve transplant organs, though this was not confirmed by the hospital.

Mr Retmock’s family told 7 News that he had only learnt he could possibly die from the infection while watching the news in hospital and that he had not been told by his doctors.

“He should have found out from the hospital because he was a very brave person,” Ms Retmock said.

“I would like for those other families still involved to be perhaps better communicated with and to have all the information laid out more clearly to them.

“I’ll miss him forever.”

It’s understood another heart transplant patient died of multiple complications in September.

Originally published as Second patient dies from fungal infection only six weeks after receiving heart transplant