In Memory of Mark Tatum – 1956-2005
Mr. Mark Tatum, also known by many as the man without a face, passed 4:00 CST Saturday, February 26, 2005 at the Medco Center of Franklin, Kentucky. Tatum lost his eyes, upper jaw, and nose to a fungal infection in 2000. This type of infection is not that unusual, but the extent of the damage that it did to Tatum was very rare.
Tatum was a medical phenomena due to the fact that he survived the infection. Due to his extreme experience, Tatum was highly profiled in the media by many people including Larry King, Maury Povich, and Ripley’s Believe it or Not. He was a courageous individual who served as a symbol of strength for the thousands of people who have lost their health, homes, and livliehood from fungal exposure.
According to a friend who spoke to him that day, Mr. Tatum was in good spirits and feeling very positive towards his future. He had just been fitted with a new prosthetic face. He was extremely excited about helping victims of toxagenic mold exposure so he could uncover the real truth about fungus as a synonymous predator to the virus and bacteria.
At this point, the cause of his death is still unknown. An autopsy has been requested by his family. More information will be posted when we obtain the results.
Funeral services were held March 2, 2005 at Crafton Funeral Home. The Rev. Winston Roberts officiated with burial at Hillsdale Cemetery. Tatum was a native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and worked as a security guard until his fungal infection in 2000. He was the son of the late Franklin Eugene Tatum and Emma Thomas Tatum.
Original Story from 2002
A mutual friend contacted me recently and asked me if I would be interested in helping Mark Tatum. She said that Mark and his wife, Nancy had recently suffered some rather severe financial hardships due to Mark’s medical expenses.
I was wondering if I could try and solve the mystery of the Mark’s condition for once and all. Perhaps I was being idealistic, but this resourceful man could make any heart break.
When the infection began in his sinuses, it didn’t take long to ravage his eyes, nose, and part of his mouth, along with much of the surrounding tissue. The doctors told him they didn’t think he would survive. He said that he began thinking about his granddaughter and how much he loved her. Mark had three near death experiences that night and he realized that God had spared him for a reason, perhaps to help people realize how serious we should take these horrendous fungal infections, and what an impact they have on human life and his health is still very poor as he suffers from chronic pain, as well as a wide array. of other associated illness. My thoughts raced back to present actuality. I began to wonder if their home had toxic mold. Could this have been a contributing factor?
Tests conducted (courtesy of EM Labs) in 2002 confirmed high levels of cladosporium, penicillium, and aspergillus in his home. It is impossible to determine conclusively that high levels of indoor mold caused his illness, but it is highly probable to have been a contributing factor.
The Tatum’s “dream” home was purchased in 1997. Mark told me about the day they bought the house with the 1920’s authentic caboose bedroom. He couldn’t believe that the seller had accepted his meager offer. Mark had to re-do some wiring, plumbing, etc., but it made no difference to him, it was the home of their dreams; on two acres sitting affront a lake.
Mark had to take up to 15 medications a day to protect his face and paralyzed portions of the right side of his body. The medications and additional cleaning supplies needed for protecting Marks’ exposed face were costing over $300 dollars a day.
Mark, who before the trauma, was working four jobs to support his wife and children, was no longer able to work due to the blindness and paralysis. He was receiving Social Security Disability and Medicaid assistance, but his health care costs were exorbitant.
We assisted in raising money to help pay for the medical bills that Mark and his family have been left with and to help discover the causes of his horrific experience. As a community, let us help make this something that doesn’t debilitate Mark and his family any further. Mark and his family have lived through a horror that too many of us is unimaginable. It is so unfortunate that his life ended so unrepentantly. May he serve as a role model for us all in a shallow world where people are judged by face value alone.
In August of 2004, David Trainer assisted Mark Tatum. These are the results from that visit, hosted by Barbara Lewis-It’s hard to imagine the trauma that would be caused by losing a part of one?s face, or the relief at getting at least part of it back. Here’s the story of a man named Mark Tatum who has felt both those emotions. He had no eyes and no nose, the result of a disfiguring but life-saving surgery after he inhaled a toxic mold.
Mark traveled to Show Low, Arizona, a small town that has become a center for the manufacture of high-tech, extremely complicated prosthetics designed to rebuild faces.
Our colleague at Arizona Public Radio, Ann Heppermann, introduces us to David Trainer, who is known as one of the leading developers of facial prosthetics. This is how Mark Tatum appeared with his new prosthetic face in 2004. He was delighted with the results.
Symptoms of Fungal Exposure