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Local newlywed dies after contracting bacteria on honeymoon

Elizabeth Mcaninch offers advice following couple's Jamaica trip

SAN ANTONIOStory update 12/23/17: Family tells us 47-year-old Chris Mcaninch has died. Mcaninch died from complications from leptospirosis, two days before Christmas.

When Elizabeth Mcaninch tied the knot with her husband, which often means taking vows that include the words “in sickness and in health,” she likely didn’t imagine the “sickness” chapter would come so soon in her marriage -- or so suddenly or severely.

But despite being married only since Nov. 4, Mcaninch is now praying that her husband makes it out of a medically induced coma alive.

While the couple were on their honeymoon in Jamaica, 47-year-old Chris Mcaninch contracted a life-threatening bacteria. The couple departed for the big trip just days after their wedding.

"We went horseback riding, zip lining (and) mudding,” Elizabeth Mcaninch said.

She said she believes that one of their excursions led to Chris’s illness.

"We went to a place called the Blue Hole,” Mcaninch said. “It wasn’t blue when we got there though. It was murky.”

She never imagined that a week later, she would be living in fear of losing her husband due to a bacteria called leptospirosis, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said is spread through animal urine and contaminated water.

"(Chris) started not feeling well,” Mcaninch said. “He started getting a little better. It backed off.”

But his symptoms came back with a vengeance.

"He started throwing up what looked like tissue -- like blood,” Mcaninch said. “And then he would cough up more blood. He started getting weak in his legs and arms, and everything started to hurt really bad."

On Nov. 26, the couple went to a hospital. But the pair wishes they would have gone sooner.

"His kidneys were failing and liver was failing,” Mcaninch said. “We had no idea. He was yellow at this point. He was jaundiced.”

Chris Mcaninch remains on dialysis at the San Antonio Military Medical Center, with an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, machine that acts as his lungs.

His bride wanted to share a message with others.

"If you're not feeling good, go to the doctor,” Mcaninch said. “Don't wait, and be aware of what you can contract in another country.”

The bacteria is out of her husband’s system, but even if he recovers from the organ failure, he will have to spend months at the hospital, recovering from the ordeal. He will need rehabilitation, as well.


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