Fracking, worksite injuries, and Aeromonas infection

Larrite Reed BS, Johnathan Umelo BS, Shirley Cotty BS


Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a method of extracting natural gas from the earth using high pressure drilling equipment and fracking fluid that contains proppant and various chemicals. It poses health risks to workers at the drilling sites, has effects on water and air quality, and creates potential health risks for people living near the drilling sites. A 30-year-old man with no past medical history presented as transfer from an outside hospital after an explosion on a fracking job site. This explosion released over 6000 pounds of water that threw him 20 feet across the rig. He had radial and ulnar fractures in his right arm and digital fractures on his right hand. He also had trauma to his left knee and right posterior thigh with a large fluctuant Morel-Lavallee lesion. On day 3 the patient developed hypotension, lethargy, and new onset fever from a possible infection of a hematoma; he was started on norepinephrine and intubated due to a decreased mental status. Cultures from the thigh were positive for Aeromonas species. Aeromonas is a Gram-negative rod that is found in many environments that contain water. Studies have shown that this organism grows commonly in West Texas and New Mexico in river beds and lakes. Healthcare providers should keep Aeromonas spp in their differential list of pathogens in patients with abrasions and open injuries that occurred around or in a body of water.

Keywords: fracking, work site trauma, abscess, Aeromonas species

Article citation: Reed L, Umelo J, Cotty S. Fracking, worksite injuries, and Aeromonas infection. The Southwest Respiratory and Critical Chronicles 2019;7(28):44–46
From: The Department of Internal Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas
Submitted: 1/13/2019
Accepted: 4/8/2019
Reviewer: David Sotello
Conflicts of interest: none
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