CU's Nobel Prize Winner Loses Arm To Flesh-Eating Bacteria

Eric Cornell Remains In Critical Condition

The family of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Eric Cornell said he's lost his left arm and shoulder to an aggressive bacterial infection, commonly known as a flesh-eating disease.

Eric Cornell won a Nobel Prize in physics in 2001.

Cornell, who is right-handed, remains in critical condition in a hospital after undergoing six surgeries -- including one to amputate his left arm and shoulder to stop the spread of the infection called necrotizing fasciitis.

A statement released by his family said the bacteria appears to have been eradicated.

Cornell has had brief moments of alertness but mostly remains asleep or sedated. He'll eventually need more reconstructive surgery, his family said.

Cornell was hospitalized two weeks ago in an undisclosed location.

Cornell is a University of Colorado adjunct professor and senior scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Cornell, CU professor Carl Wieman and Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Wolfgang Ketterle won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2001.

They were recognized for their work creating a kind of new matter.

Bacteria that cause necrotizing fasciitis produce toxins that destroy muscles, fat and skin tissue. It's fatal in about 20 percent of those infected.

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