Andrew Speaker Released From Hospital
Tuberculosis Patient Flies Back to Georgia; Doctors Predict Speaker Will Have a 'Full and Active' Life
WebMD News Archive
July 26, 2007 -- Tuberculosis patient Andrew Speaker took an air ambulance
back to Georgia today after being discharged at 6 a.m. today from a Denver
Speaker, an Atlanta lawyer, got eight weeks of treatment for
multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) at Denver's National Jewish Medical
and Research Center. On July 17, Speaker
had lung surgery to remove a tennis-ball sized piece of his lung that was
infected by tuberculosis.
"Treatment for Mr. Speaker went very well, and we were able to release
him more quickly than we originally anticipated," says Gwen Huitt, MD, in a
National Jewish Medical and Research Center news release.
Speaker's TB treatment isn't over yet. He'll keep taking antibiotics for two
years, though his TB is no longer detectable and isn't contagious.
"Although we believe there are still a few tuberculosis bacteria in his
lungs, ongoing antibiotic therapy should kill those. We expect him to return to
a full and active life," says Huitt, who directs the Adult Infectious
Disease Care Center at National Jewish Medical and Research Center.
Andrew Speaker Speaks Out
Speaker was recently in the headlines when the CDC ordered him into medical
isolation after he and his bride took two transatlantic flights.
At the time, Speaker was believed to have extensively drug-resistant
tuberculosis (XDR TB). But on July 3, Speaker's tuberculosis diagnosis was
changed to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB).
"I really appreciate the quality of care I have gotten from all the
people at National Jewish," says Speaker in today's news release from
National Jewish Medical and Research Center. "Thanks to all they do,
patients like me are able to walk out of here not only well, but better in so
Speaker's parents met him when the air ambulance landed in Georgia and drove
him to an undisclosed location, according to National Jewish.
Speaker was free to take a commercial flight home to Georgia. "But given
the extraordinary attention he has received, everyone involved in the case
agreed that it would be better to return home via air ambulance so as not to
raise any undue public alarm," says National Jewish.
Tomorrow, Speaker is to report to county health officials in Georgia to
begin two years of directly observed therapy to make sure he fully completes
his treatment. He will likely also return to National Jewish several months
from now for a follow-up evaluation, but those plans aren't set.