On March 2, Lindsey Hubley and Mike Sampson from Canada were blessed with a bouncy baby boy. And just 4 days later, after she was discharged to go home, she started feeling unwell. And the nightmare began for the family as she was diagnosed with necrotising fasciitis - the flesh-eating disease.
The flesh-eating disease horror story
The information we have is from a Gofundme page that Lindsey's sister-in-law created for her treatment. On March 6, Lindsey's condition deteriorated rapidly. She was rushed to the hospital, and then underwent a surgery. Her fiance, Mike was informed that Lindsey had the flesh-eating disease, and it had caused her to go into a septic shock. The bacteria had spread everywhere in her body.
All her limbs were affected, and she had to undergo an emergency amputation. Lindsey lost all 4 of her limbs to the unfortunate turn of events. However, the horror was far from over. Her organs were failing. She was isolated in the ICU, and remained in the state of a medically-induced coma.
Fortunately, her will to survive was strong, and the doctors did everything they could to bring her back to a stable condition. She was out of her danger. But she would still need some surgeries and a lot of rehabilitation before she could go home to her child. And for that, her sister-in-law had created the campaign, that was successful in raising the required sum of money. However, what is heartening to see is the support she is receiving from other victims of this grave disease.
What is necrotising fasciitis?
It is a rare but a severe infection of the tissues underneath the skin, including the muscles and organs. It is caused by a small group of bacteria. These bacteria are present on the skin and in the gut, where they are harmless. However, at times, they gain access to the tissue below the skin. Generally, this tissue is protected by a dense sheet of collagen called as the fascia. It supports the organs and helps in keeping the muscles in a compartment.
These bacteria, when left unchallenged, release toxins that devour the flesh, hence the name. And all this is caused by a seemingly harmless cut. Soon, the infection spreads and about 20% of the patients do not survive it. For those who do, the recovery is often difficult, requiring amputations and rehabilitation.
Taking care of a wound
Growing up, the real scare of a wound was contracting tetanus. Due to the prompt care, the incidence of tetanus has gone down. However, it has not been eradicated and as a parent, you should know how to take care of a wound.
First, the red flags.
If the wound is accompanied by these, contact your doctor.
- The wound is more than 1/4th inch deep or long (you will need stitches)
- The bleeding does not stop even after applying pressure for 10 minutes
- Unusual redness around the wound within a day or two
- Pain much more than the size of the wound
- Swelling and redness in the painful area – the swelling will usually feel firm to the touch
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Dark blotches on the skin that turn into fluid-filled blisters
If it is just a regular wound, you should treat it in this manner.
1# small, clean wound with regular margins
A cut, a stab, or a simple puncture because of a thorn should be treated in this manner.
- Wash your hands
- Wash the wound with running water for 5-10 minutes
- Pat the wound dry with a clean piece of cotton wrapped in a gauze piece.
- Take 3-5 cotton balls (they need not be sterilised)
- Take one, pour some rubbing alcohol/spirit on it. You are going to clean a square of about 2 inches x 2 inches around the wound. Clean using the swab from top to down, starting from the part near the body, moving away from it
- Start from 2 inches above the wound. In a firm motion, wipe the skin, past the wound till about 2 inches below it
- Now keep on doing it going away from the body
- Take care not to rub it back on your way upwards
- Take care not to overlap the cleaned area much
- After the spirit, use some Savalon. Repeat it
- After Savalon, use Povidone Iodine
- You can keep the wound open or, if it is small, use a wound plaster
- Change the plaster twice in a day
2# Dirty looking irregular wound
If your child scrapes his knees, chances are that it is an abrasion. In this case, follow the steps mentioned above from 1 through 7.
While healing, this wound is going to exude fluids. So, you may have to cover it with a Gamgee roll. It is cotton wrapped in a gauze piece. The cotton absorbs the fluids and the gauze stops the cotton fibres from sticking to the wound. You can buy one or make one at home.
Keep changing the bandage every day. Next, see when was the last time your child had a tetanus shot. He might need to take a repeat dose. Again, if you see a green discharge, or if the wound starts to smell or look funny, consult your doctor.
Stay safe, mums.
Story and image: Gofundme