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Episode 22 – From Medical Malpractice to Champion Athlete: Dez Del Barba Shares His Incredible Story

Published: Thursday November 16, 2023

Pushing Forward with Alycia | A Disability Podcast

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In this emotionally charged episode of “Pushing Forward with Alycia”

Dez Del Barba, a military veteran who became a survivor of medical malpractice after contracting necrotizing fasciitis during his basic training, showcases his unbreakable human spirt and shares his new passion for wheelchair tennis, where he’s already won several championships.

Dez contracted streptococcus A

During his basic training, which, due to misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment, evolved into necrotizing fasciitis. His condition rapidly deteriorated, resulting in the amputation of his left leg above the knee, severe damage to his right leg, underarms, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Dez endured an astonishing 43 surgeries, spent 100 days in the ICU, and underwent months of grueling physical, occupational, and mental health therapy.

Despite these unimaginable hardships

Dez’s story is one of resilience, determination, and triumph. He is not just a survivor; he’s a fierce advocate for change within the military healthcare system. His journey from despair to becoming a champion athlete in wheelchair tennis is nothing short of inspirational.

Dez’s harrowing experience has turned into a mission of giving back through his nonprofit organization, Operation Dez Strong, which provides financial and emotional support to children undergoing amputations.

Throughout the episode, we’ll also discuss the pressing issue of medical malpractice within the military and the need for legislative changes to ensure accountability and justice for service members.

All you needed was a penicillin shot…

Alycia Anderson interviewing Dez Del Barba

What is necrotizing fasciitis?

Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly in the body and can cause death. This flesh-eating disease occurs when bacteria enter the body through a break in the skin. The condition spreads quickly. Symptoms include blisters, fever, fatigue, and pain worse than a person would expect based on the wound’s appearance.

Group A strep thought to be most common cause

There are many types of bacteria that can cause the “flesh-eating disease” called necrotizing fasciitis. Public health experts believe group A Streptococcus (group A strep) are the most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis. This web page only focuses on necrotizing fasciitis caused by group A strep bacteria.

Closing Message: No matter how daunting the challenges, Dez’s journey teaches us that resilience, determination, and community support can lead to remarkable transformations. Keep pushing forward, one step at a time, and remember that you are never alone in your journey.

Below are links to take urgent action

Make a Public Comment demanding that DoD make uniformed service member malpractice victims whole, by removing the caps on damages and all offsets that diminish their benefits as related to their Proposed Rule for Medical Malpractice Claims by Members of the Uniformed Services. Ask your local Congressional Representatives to do the same by December 19th, 2023.Also ask them to support amending the “Feres Doctrine” to include a definition for “Incident to Service,” and request they sign onto passing the “HERO Act” – H.R. 4334.

Contact Dez:

dez del barba in fatigues

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