September 21, 2010
Verbal report on further results of analyzing tissue samples taken during Ian Mueller’s autopsy
Dr. Jason Poston, assistant professor of critical care in the Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago, was the principal director of the intensive care that Ian received in Mitchell Hospital August 5-6, 2010. In a phone conversation with me today, he conveyed the following additional information that correlates observations of Ian during the last 48 hours of his life with the further analysis of tissue samples taken during the autopsy on August 9.
As observed, Ian appeared to be suffering from an aggressive viral infection. His breathing was noisy and shallow, his fever dangerously high (104 degrees), and his heartbeat very rapid. His circulation was very inflamed and dynamic. After he was sedated to allow a ventilator to regulate his breathing and stave off cardiac damage, his blood pressure and pulse rate became erratic. The catheter that was inserted also showed that he was passing abnormally small amounts of urine. Repeated infusions of liquids to force his heart to pump more regularly and to dilute the increasing acid content in his blood failed to stabilize his condition as monitored in his vital signs.
Further tissue analysis has revealed a low level of myocarditis, an inflammatory disease of the heart most often produced by a viral infection. Several of its associated symptoms tally with Ian’s in intensive care: rhythmic disturbance of the heart, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath.
Further tissue analysis has also revealed the presence of vasculitis, or inflammation of the blood vessels, which commonly triggers abnormality (dysfunction) in the body’s immune system. Vasculitis is consistent with the failure of Ian’s kidneys to eliminate the acid wastes that his infection (signaled by his high fever) was generating in his bloodstream.
Although they have been unable to identify a particular virus, the University of Chicago pathologists conclude that the bulk of the observational and laboratory evidence converges in the strong probability that Ian Mueller’s death was caused by a viral infection that invaded his bloodstream and tissues, overwhelmed his immune system, and brought on comprehensive (fatal) organ failure. I have not been led to expect further information.