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MLB completes review of Guillen’s death

May 24, 2011, 5:38 PM EST

A review by Major League Baseball has concluded Nationals minor leaguer Yewri Guillen died of an infection in the brain that was the result of an aggressive sinus infection, not bacterial meningitis as the team originally believed.

MLB medical director Dr. Gary Green conducted the review, with guidance from the sport’s Medical Advisory Committee, after receiving information from the Dominican Republic regarding Guillen’s death.

The committee also concluded that the Nationals “took the proper steps to insure that Guillen’s medical care was handled appropriately, and that proper protocols were followed to prevent the spread of meningitis when that infection was suspected as the cause of Guillen’s illness,” according to a press release issued by MLB.

Guillen, 18, was a shortstop playing and living at the Nationals’ Dominican complex in Boca Chica. According to team officials, he fell ill in early April and was sent home, then to an area hospital. He died
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  1. Les in NC - May 24, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Mark, seems like something is missing from this post…. either a link to the "full story" or, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story.

  2. Anonymous - May 24, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    kind of an abrupt ending to the story…

  3. Mark Zuckerman - May 24, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    Sorry, guys. I had the link to the full story screwed up. It's fixed now.

  4. Anonymous - May 24, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    So, they completely blew the diagnosis on virus and the kid died of an infection? Yikes.

  5. Andrew - May 24, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    Meningitis can be either bacterial or viral. The viral type is more easily curable, and bacterial is much deadlier.

  6. Doctor HTL - May 24, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    "So, they completely blew the diagnosis on virus and the kid died of an infection? Yikes."I'm not an apologist for the Nationals, but I an a trained diagnostician. Why, anonymous poster, do you think MLB would have cleared the Nationals if they thought they botched the diagnosis and caused the young man to die? The fact that it took an autopsy or other post-mortem testing to pinpoint the cause and the fact that MLB found the steps the Nationals took while the young man was alive to be appropriate indicates that he either was not displaying symptoms of a sinus infection or that he waited so long to seek care that the symptoms were so far beyond a typical sinus infection that it was appropriate to treat for a much more serious infection like meningitis. The treatment for meningistis, incindentally, would be stronger than dictated to treat a sinus infection, but certainly would have been effective against a sinus infection that had not spread into the brain.Feel free to post venom all you'd like about the Nationals baseball operations, but please do not make reckless allegations that they cost a young man his life.Dr. Harry T. Lingstaler

  7. Tcostant - May 24, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    Can you say cover up? Sounds like lawyers protecting the Nationals. Just like when no one at Notre Dame was responsible for putting a kid on a scissors lift in 60 MPH winds.

  8. NatsJack in Florida - May 24, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    The implications that certain posters present are absolutley disgusting.

  9. Anonymous - May 24, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    There are often few symptoms associated with a sinus infection. Or you adapt and adjust to them without realizing … happened to me.

  10. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 24, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    I'm with the good doctor and NatsJack on this one.Rip them all you like for the last-place finishes and cheap owners, but lay off the slander/libel, thanks.Sec3

  11. natsfan1a - May 24, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    I've never even played one on tv, but I'm with the doc, NatsJack, and sec3 on this one.

  12. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 24, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    and fwiw, the Notre Dame report:

  13. ChicagoNatsGirl - May 24, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    The other thing distinctly missing from many of these comments is sympathy and best wishes for Mr. Guillen's family. How sad. Such a young man and one can imagine that he may have been the pride and joy of his family.

  14. Anonymous - May 24, 2011 at 8:52 PM

    Condolences to this young man's family. It is heartbreaking to see a young life end this way.Please stop the conspiracy theories. This is a tragedy that should be beyond pot shots at the Nats' organization. What's next? Peric's assertion that this is Jim Riggleman's fault?

  15. Cwj - May 24, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    Very sad story and my condolences to his family. Only 18 years old? Very sad :(I had a pretty nasty sinus infection this past Winter and lost much of my hearing before it was finally treated.Thankfully I didn't know it could be fatal or I would have freaked out!

  16. natsfan1a - May 24, 2011 at 10:13 PM

    For the record, many did express condolences in the post in which Mark originally reported on the young man's death.

  17. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 1:30 AM

    Dr. Harry – that post was pretty ridiculous. I said they blew the diagnosis, which they did, and the kid died, which he did. (Maybe it was reasonable for them to be wrong on the diagnosis, not sure.) But nothing at all inaccurate there, is there? You ask whether I think that MLB would clear its own club if that team botched a diagnosis and caused a kid to die – the answer is, Hell yes!, I think that MLB would cover its ass. I am sure that a statement from your partners that you did not screw up to a patient who made a claim is an objective barometer that the world should rely upon. Some getting-paid-by-MLB doctor made a determination based on “information from the D.R.” – whatever that might mean — is what the post said. That does not indicate that either the kid displayed this or that symptom or he failed to seek care. That is some wacky speculation on your part. At the end of the day MLB cleared its own club, you declaring that as dispositive of anything is at best naïve. And your statement that a post mordem was needed to find the cause of death is beyond the facts — where did Mark’s piece say post mortem or autopsy? And nothing in the post says the Nats treated the kid at all; it says he got sick and they sent him home and when they thought it was meningitis they started thinking about vaccinations. Who is being reckless with the facts here Doc? It aint me. How about you bringing some clean and less arrogant hands on the facts the next time you get all “I am a big, smart doctor!” in a blog post. To tell the truth, in my short little post, I was marveling at third world medicine maybe being less than adequate more than blaming the Nats, but you made me rethink it and I think that the Nats have some explaining to do still. The Nats had a kid in their facility who fell ill in early April and was sent home sick (not sure when they actually sent him packing back to Mom, or whether it was for his benefit or to lessen the chances that other kids would not be in playing shape if they also fell ill) and he died April 14. Should the Nats have taken the kid directly to the hospital? Did they treat him for anything at all when he was sick and with the Nats? IF the Nats thought he had bacterial meningitis when they sent him packing, and they did not find him medical care, then they may not have been doing the right thing, no? Were they trying to save a buck by not having to pony-up for medical care? We don’t know the facts at all. But that did not stop you from reckless allegations of your own to puff-up your short white coat with embroidery encased chest.

  18. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 25, 2011 at 2:24 AM

    Well said, Chicago.

  19. Jeff - May 25, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    Anonymous, you're a tool.Easy to hide behind an anonymous post. I agree w/ the good doc. These infections are tough to pin down.I'm sorry for this kid's family.Jeff Legg

  20. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 25, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Tool of the worstest sort.I had a long, quite reasonable post, but honestly, what's the use? (And "puff up" isn't hyphenated.)





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