27-year-old Charleigh Chatterton gave birth to Alessia in Colchester on April 22 without complications. However, six days later, she developed a rash on her stomach and was rushed to the hospital. She was diagnosed with necrotising fasciitis by doctors, and her family was informed that she might not survive.
Chatterton told the BBC that her rash was hot like a boiled kettle and that she developed flu-like symptoms. She was subjected to several tests, but the doctors couldn’t figure out the problem, and her condition was rapidly deteriorating. She was struggling to remain conscious.
Woman Survives Flesh-Eating Bacteria
Finally, a scan revealed pockets of gas underneath her tissues, and doctors immediately realised it could be necrotising fasciitis. In order to stop the flesh-eating bacteria from spreading further, doctors rushed her to surgery and removed a large amount of dead tissue.
She was kept sedated for three days and had two large wounds on her stomach when she regained consciousness. The wounds had to be left open for six days in order for them to heal and help her recover.
Two weeks later, Chatterton was discharged from the hospital. She told the BBC that she was physically doing better but was still finding it quite strenuous psychologically. She shared that she had some huge scars and some nerve damage but expressed that she was lucky to be here, and that’s what mattered.
She concluded that she wanted to spread the message because many people might have never heard of this condition, and early diagnosis can make the difference between life and death.
What Is Necrotising Fasciitis?
Necrotising fasciitis is a rare bacterial infection that quickly spreads throughout the body, leading to death. Symptoms could start with flu-like signs, which can rapidly develop into a rash, vomiting, and swelling in the affected areas. As it starts spreading throughout the body, the affected person might experience dizziness and confusion. It can quickly progress to blood poisoning and organ failure, leading directly to death.
Individuals with a weak immune system are prone to developing the infection, which can happen during pregnancy and childbirth. It is estimated that the UK sees approximately 500 cases each year. An individual could contract the bacteria through some kind of break in the skin or through blunt trauma.
In February 2023, an 11-year-old boy in the US twisted his ankle while running on a treadmill. The doctors found that he had contracted necrotising fasciitis, commonly called flesh-eating disease. The boy, identified as Jesse Brown, spotted large purple and red spots covering his legs. After examination, the doctors said that group A strep, a bacteria, caused necrotising fasciitis.
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Feature Image Credits: BBC