|Updated: 6/24/2008 10:48 am
||Published: 5/19/2008 9:46 pm
Dwight’s dad, Jimmie Davidson, started complaining about feeling confused. Doctors told his family that Jimmie had Alzheimer’s. “Quite honestly we didn't buy that”, Dwight said.
They too, took him to Saint John. By then, Jimmie was having trouble walking and Dwight watched his dad steadily get worse. “Literally from day to day to day.”
After a series of tests, neurologists diagnosed Dwight’s father with CJD. “You realize your father's personality is just disappearing and nothing anyone could do about it.”
By the time he left the hospital, Jimmie was comatose. He died a few days later, at home.
Dwight and Randy both fear their fathers caught CJD by eating contaminated meat.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture randomly tests cattle for mad cow disease but less than one percent of all cows that are slaughtered.
But inspectors do visually monitor every animal for symptoms. U.S. inspectors found three cases of mad cow within the past five years in Washington State, Texas and Alabama.
Some experts believe CJD may also come from eating meat from diseased animals like deer and elk. Randy and Dwight say their fathers both ate wild game.
The State Department of Wildlife hasn't seen the disease in deer, but tells hunters who process their own meat to be extremely careful.
Ricky Hall is a butcher in Collinsville. “You don't want to cut the spinal cord… cut the spinal cord and you contaminate the meat… I believe it'll kill you.”
Randy and Dwight will never know if contaminated meat killed their fathers. The only way to know is with an autopsy, and they didn't get one.
Doctors say that happens because a lot of pathologists are afraid to perform the autopsies.
Doctor Myers says he ran into that problem. “I had arranged for a biopsy to be sent to Oklahoma City and the neuro-pathologist there refused to accept the specimen.”
Why? Because he was afraid it was CJD and didn't want to get infected.