A healthy 33-year-old woman had her left leg amputated after suffering a severe flu infection.
Allison Miller of Virginia became ill with a sore throat, headache and a general feeling of being “exhausted” in March 2014.
She left work early, but a few days later she was suffering from back pain and fainting, rushing her to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed her with pneumonia, or inflammation of the lungs caused by an infection.
He also began suffering from sepsis (or when the immune system overreacts and begins attacking healthy organs) within 24 hours of being admitted.
The communications manager was placed in an induced coma and connected to a heart-lung machine (ECMO), which supports the heart and lungs, but this reduced circulation to her left leg, prompting doctors to amputate it above. of the knee.
He also suffered serious damage to his lungs, so he has to go to the hospital every few months for check-ups.
Allison Miller, 33, who lives in Virginia, spent three months in the hospital after her flu infection turned into sepsis. She appears in the photo above.
Ms Miller had her left leg amputated above the knee during the infection when circulation to the limb was cut off. This happened because she was placed on an ECMO machine, which reduced circulation to her left leg.
Mrs. Miller said FOX Digital News: ‘Thinking it was the flu or something I could get over, I kept waiting until I turned the corner, as if this were the worst. Everything will get better.
“And clearly that was not the case.”
Ms Miller initially went to the hospital for a chest x-ray on Friday after leaving work early, believing she had a “bad cold”.
But doctors said her chest X-ray showed “nothing alarming” and sent her home with a nebulizer and cough syrup.
However, when her symptoms worsened, she was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
The doctors said he had bilateral bacterial pneumonia. — a serious condition in which an infection in the air sacs of both lungs causes them to fill with pus and fluid, making it difficult to breathe.
The ECMO machine he was placed on works by pushing blood through an artificial lung outside the body, allowing the blood to absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide.
The machine is designed to help relieve pressure on the heart and lungs.
But, as a result of this, there was very little blood flow in his left leg, leading to its amputation.
Sepsis can also increase the risk of amputations because it causes blood clots and can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, which cuts off circulation to extremities, such as the hands and feet.
Miller was in a coma for three weeks until his condition improved.
But he then spent another two months in the hospital recovering from his injuries and then learning how to use a prosthesis.
She also spent two months on a ventilator.
Ms Miller, who was described as active and passionate about international travel, feared the amputation would lead to her not being able to live as she once did.
But she said that six months later she and her mother drove together through California’s Big Sur. Just over a year after the amputation, she was also able to travel to Vienna, Austria, and Paris and Nice, France.
Six months later he made another trip to Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, and London, in the United Kingdom.
Mrs. Miller had not been vaccinated against the flu and believes this, in part, caused her serious infection.
She said: ‘I had missed the memo that flu shots were for everyone.
“And, being 33 at the time and otherwise healthy, it didn’t even register as something I should consider doing.”
This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the flu vaccine for everyone over six months old.
But studies show that healthy adults under age 65 face an extremely small risk of serious complications and death from the flu.
However, in rare cases, they can suffer complications, such as the amputation Ms. Miller suffered.
Vaccines can boost the immune system, reducing the risk of an infection getting worse.
But doctors point out that flu vaccines are not bulletproof, reducing the risk of visiting the doctor with the infection by 40 to 60 percent on average.
This is partly because the vaccine formula must be decided six months before the flu season based on data from the southern hemisphere, meaning that vaccines do not always completely match the most common type of flu circulating during the winter.
About 49,000 Americans die from the flu each year, while 10,000 are hospitalized and an estimated nine million are infected.