Radio personality Betty Pino passed away Wednesday after spending three weeks in a Miami hospital under an induced coma.
The Queen of the Radio was 65 at the time of her death, and while there has been no official statement yet released, family and friends have confirmed to the media the cause of death was related to a bacterial infection turned deadly.
“There have been many rumors,” a close friend of Betty Pino, Anni Gonzalez, told the Latin Times. “One of them is that she was infected from bacteria after undergoing surgery on her intestine and other people have said that it was something she ate. In reality, it has not been confirmed yet. I heard that Betty had been having [health] issues for a while and she had been admitted to the hospital before. It was not something that happened suddenly and there was an episode where she was hospitalized.”
Nina Ruiz, Betty Pino’s publicist and Alina Torres told HuffPost Voces by the time the bacterial infection was discovered it had already deteriorated much of Pino’s body and compromised several organs. The radio host was placed in an induced coma for medical management, but doctors were unable to bring her back to full health.
Betty Pino: How could a bacterial infection get so serious?
While there has been no confirmation on how Betty Pino acquired the bacterial infection, most sources suggest it was contracted during a previous procedure she had (some say a colon surgery, others rumor it was plastic surgery in the buttocks). Whether it was a wound infection gone-bad or an infection which entered the body through another means is yet unknown.
Bacterial infections are indeed one of the risks of surgical procedures.
Regardless of the transmission method, bacterial infections are no joke.
When it comes to illnesses, viruses tend to be the most common cause of sickness in humans, but bacterial infections are on the rise and have just as much potential as a viral infection to be deadly.
According to the World Health Organization, staphylococcus aureus, better known as a staph infection, is the most common bacterial pathogen found to cause infection in humans.
When people hear about staph infections, they generally assume them to be serious, but staph infections can not only be serious–they can be deadly. Most people don’t realize staph infections can go systemic, entering the blood stream to cause a condition called bacteremia and eventually septicemia.
It doesn’t take much to encourage the spread of bacteria. Bacteremia is caused any time a bacterial pathogen enters the blood stream, but in most healthy people those bacteria are isolated by the immune system and dealt with before they can cause any major problems.
In some people who have taken antibiotics frequently or incorrectly (like when they don’t need them or when they suspend treatment before they should), some bacteria can become resistant to this treatment, making antibiotics less effective at a later time when needed.
An overwhelming number of bacteria or an infection in someone with a compromised immune system can also cause bacteria in the blood stream to spread throughout the body, affecting organs and killing healthy tissue. At this stage, the infection is referred to as septicemia, sometimes called blood poisoning or sepsis.
Sepsis can quickly become deadly, especially if there are no tell-tale signs such as a discolored, festering wound. Many people do not associated the symptoms of sepsis with a blood infection as the warning signs typically mimic other illnesses like the flu.
While no sources have confirmed it, it is possible Betty Pino — who had missed a few days of work during the last month before being hospitalized — was experiencing fever, abdominal pain, rapid heart rate, and breathing abnormalities but didn’t associate her feelings of illness with a serious bacterial infection.
Other symptoms related to a bacterial infection that has gone systemic, according to the Mayo Clinic, may have included:
- Significantly decrease urine output.
- Altered mental state.
- Extremely low blood pressure.
- Any symptom associated with failed organ function.
Betty Pino was reportedly under antibiotic care before being admitted to the hospital but the treatment did not work and her health deteriorated quickly. It is also possible she had contracted an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection.
Antibiotic-resistant infections are on the rise, and it isn’t just staph infection. A report from the Wall Street Journal looked into the rising occurrence of enterobacteriaceae bacterial infections in the United States for which there are currently limited treatment options because the bacteria have become resistant.
“CRE are a nightmare bacteria,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden at a briefing. “Our strongest antibiotics don’t work and patients are left with potentially untreatable infections.”
Until an official statement is released, the exact cause of Betty Pino’s death remains a mystery.
In the weeks that follow, her dedicated fans will be watching the news, waiting to find out just why a bacterial infection turned deadly for the radio star.
“The Queen of the Radio, with her velvet voice, has been called by the Lord. Leaving a void in the life of her family, friends, listeners, and all of those people whom Betty helped along throughout her career on the radio,” read the Facebook post announcing Pino’s passing.
Pino’s radio presence in the 1970′s made Miami, Florida the springboard for up-and-coming Latin artists, and her efforts in the music industry were recognized through both the United States and the world. She will be missed.