How Women Who Retire With Their Husbands Often Lose Out

Generally, health care institutions have said that they do not want to worry the public unnecessarily, given that they are working hard to control the spread of the infection and also that the germ is not a health threat to the general public. The people at the greatest risk are those who have compromised immune systems, typically through illness and age, and who are in hospitals and nursing homes where many infections are carried and transmitted.

Ms. Spoor’s tale reveals the powerlessness of patients and institutions in the face of resistant infections.

Late last year, Ms. Spoor began experiencing shortness of breath and appeared to be having a surge of symptoms from lupus, an autoimmune disorder she had been diagnosed with years earlier but that did not seem to disrupt her daily life. Now, her lungs were having trouble absorbing oxygen.

Ms. Spoor’s family kept a detailed diary of the events, at her request. She went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, a highly ranked academic medical center affiliated with Northwestern University. There, in mid-December, she had a biopsy that led to complications: The wound bled and she went into cardiac arrest. She was revived and put on a device called an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine to help her breathe.

That machine was considered a way station to help Ms. Spoor survive until she could receive a lung transplant. She felt hopeful she would be able to see her youngest son, Zack, get married in a ceremony planned for June.

But a month later, a blood test found C. auris. Ms. Spoor’s medical records, which the family shared with The Times, contained a note in mid-January in bold type: “This is a highly transmissible fungus that has a propensity to develop resistance.” The records continued, again in bold type, that it was necessary to “discuss with nurses to maintain diligent contact precautions and limited visitors if possible.”

Those records indicated that the hospital suspected Ms. Spoor picked up the infection from one of the tubes inserted into her body.

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