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08/13/91

CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (415) 723-2558

Provost James N. Rosse recovering from infection

STANFORD -- Stanford Provost James N. Rosse is recovering from a massive strep infection at Methodist Hospital in Omaha, Neb., and said he expects to be back in his campus office Monday, Aug. 19.

A diabetic, Rosse, 59, was admitted to the hospital Thursday night, Aug. 8, suffering shortness of breath and a rapid heartbeat.

The real problem, he said in a cheerful phone interview, was a streptococcus infection that entered his body through a sore spot on his left foot. He probably acquired the infection on Monday, Aug. 5, "in one of the nicer hotels" in Minneapolis, where he was attending a Cowles Media board meeting.

From Minneapolis, Rosse and his wife, Janice, went to Eugene T. Mahoney State Park campgrounds, halfway between Lincoln and Omaha, with plans to later attend his parents' 60th wedding anniversary in Omaha.

By Wednesday, the whole lower leg was "pretty badly inflamed, but I didn't make the connection between my general discomfort and the redness in the leg because many of the symptoms were flu-like," he said.

Finally, Thursday evening the infection had spread throughout his body, and "it was more than my heart and lungs could handle."

Rosse's wife summoned his brother, Dr. Wendell F. Rosse, a physician at Duke Medical School, who was also visiting Nebraska. The doctor took one look at Rosse and asked which hospital he wanted to visit.

Rosse spent four days in the cardiac unit of intensive care, but the cardiologist "lost interest in me fairly rapidly" after the heart and lung problems were stabilized and the real problem was found, he said.

The infectious diseases doctor, on the other hand, "had a ball - he found all kinds of beasties," he said.

"You don't realize how easy it is to be careless and not take care of yourself. I wish I were as healthy as my 88-year-old father," said Rosse, whose bacterial bout forced him to miss his parents' anniversary celebration.

Some slight discomfort remains, but otherwise he is in "quite good shape," he said. He is up and walking around, and has been conducting university business by phone.

He must stay in the hospital until Thursday, Aug. 15, he said, because doctors are still pumping in about 10 bags of intravenous antibiotics daily to knock out what was officially diagnosed as cellulitis and lymphangitis of the left leg and foot.

Rosse said he expects to return to campus Thursday evening and work half days next week.

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