As told by Bill's daughter, Karen Curtiss.
Dad was lucky, at first. He was in the final stages of a disease that had thickened his lung tissue beyond repair when a transplant came through. It was February 21, 2005. The same day, he went into surgery and emerged nine hours later with a new lung and a great prognosis; he’d be back to his golf game by the Fourth of July, his pulmonologist said.
A few weeks later, tired of waiting for a nurse to escort him back to bed from the bathroom, Dad attempted the trek on his own and fell. That marked the start of a devastating recovery that ultimately wasn’t. Situated horizontally in bed, fluids pooled in his lungs, leading to pneumonia. Dad was moved to the ICU, where staying still for so long sent a blood clot to his new lung. He then contracted methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a staph infection requiring heavy antibiotics. That, in turn, made him vulnerable to C. difficile, a potentially fatal bacteria that causes diarrhea and can lead to kidney failure, a ruptured colon, and serious damage to the large intestine. Like MRSA, C. difficile infections are commonly acquired in healthcare settings and can be difficult to treat with antibiotics.
Dad didn’t survive his hospital stay. He was 71.