How a paper cut nearly killed: Mother, 49, reveals that her organs were closing due to carnivorous insects
A mother came close to death after she had contracted a carnivorous insect from a paper cut in her hand.
Heather Harbottle, 49, from Hawaii, drove to the hospital in December 2017 after a rough two nights with rolling hand pain and fever.
The independent independent paparazzi consultant never expected the small wound to be the cause of necrotizing fasciitis, an infection that kills the skin, muscles and soft tissue.
It quickly spread through her hand, ate away from the tendons, and rode up to the armpit and heart.
The vicious bug had led to life-threatening sepsis, which is when the immune system goes into overdrive and attacks the body. It caused her kidneys to fail.
Doctors took tons of antibiotics every three days and cut away the rotting meat.
Mrs. Harbottle almost missed the amputation of her arm, and when she was good enough, doctors could do a skin transplant by taking tissue from Mrs. Harbottle’s thigh.
After 65 days in the hospital, Mrs. Harbottle was able to return to her six-year-old daughter, AnnJolie. She still gets movement back in her hand.
Heather Harbottle, 49, came close to death after catching a carnivorous insect through a paper on her hand. In the photo, the tissue on her hand has been eaten by the bacteria
The vicious bug had led to life-threatening sepsis, which is when the immune system goes into overdrive and attacks the body. It caused Mrs. Harbottle’s kidneys to fail
Mrs. Harbottle almost missed the amputation of her arm, and when she was good enough, doctors could perform a skin transplant by taking tissue from Mrs. Harbottle’s thigh
Mrs. Harbottle believes she cut her hand on a cardboard box as she entered her new home.
She said: ‘I woke up on 7 December 2017 after a heavy night with rolling hand pain. My little finger was swollen and it started to spread.
“I thought it was a sprain or dislocation of my little finger. But there was a cut between my little finger and ring finger, so I thought in the movement that I must have hit him or something.
“I stayed home to rest, while everyone else made the four-hour tour for a new load during the move. The incision in my finger already showed an infection and my hand now swelled.
“I got a fever that night and any movement of my arm or body was unbearable. I was so weak.
‘So on Friday at about 5 a.m. we drove the two and a half hour trip to the Hilo Medical Center. “
Once in the hospital, doctors discovered that Mrs. Harbottle had necrotizing fasciitis, better known as “carnivorous disease.”
Mrs. Harbottle drove to the hospital in December 2017 after a rough two nights with rolling hand pain and fever. She has recently been pictured
Once in the hospital, doctors discovered that Mrs. Harbottle had necrotizing fasciitis, better known as ‘carnivorous disease’
The infection, caused by Streptococcus bacteria, spread rapidly through Mrs. Harbottle’s hand and ate away from the tendons
It is a rare but extremely vicious bacterial infection. “Necrotising” refers to something that causes body tissue to die and the infection can destroy skin, muscles, and fat.
The disease develops when the bacteria invade the body, often through a small cut or scrap. As the bacteria multiply, they release toxins that kill tissue and cut off blood flow to the area.
Mrs. Harbottle was told that Streptococcus bacteria had entered her body. According to the Lee Spark NF Foundation, there are around 1,000 cases in the UK each year caused by Group A Streptococcus.
In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say between 700 and 1200 cases annually.
Necrotizing fasciitis is rapidly getting worse and, according to the NHS, up to 40 percent of people die even with treatment.
Survivors often have a long-term disability due to amputation or removal of many infected tissues.
Mrs. Harbottle said: “After the diagnosis of necrotizing fasciitis was made, doctors were very reluctant to touch it. The first step was to get every antibiotic on board and hope for results.
“I had just come close to death and was now faced with possible amputation if the infection was too strong. The bacteria had already penetrated my tendons and have now reached my armpit. “
The infection traveled to Mrs. Harbottle’s armpit
In January 2018, Mrs. Harbottle had a groin flapping procedure, where she took a piece of healthy tissue to replace the lost tissue. It was attached to her groin for a while so that it could receive blood flow (photo)
After 65 days in the hospital, Mrs. Harbottle was able to return to her six-year-old daughter, AnnJolie. She still gets movement back in her hand
The infection had led to life-threatening sepsis, which is when the immune system goes into overdrive and attacks the body.
WHAT IS FASCIITIS NECROTIZING?
Necrotizing fasciitis is usually caused by an infection with group A Streptococcus, but can be caused by different types of bacteria.
They infect flat layers of a membrane known as the fascia, which are connective tissue bands that surround muscles, nerves, fat, and blood vessels. The infection also damages the tissues in addition to the fascia.
Sometimes toxins made by these bacteria destroy the tissue they infect, causing it to die. When this happens, the infection is very serious and can result in loss of limb or death.
Necrotizing fasciitis can progress very quickly and lead to serious problems such as sepsis and organ failure. The infection kills 40 percent of patients, even with treatment, according to the NHS.
Those who survive can often remain disabled for a long time due to amputation or the removal of infected tissue.
Mrs. Harbottle said: “My kidneys failed. The infection was already spreading to my elbow and traveling to the heart.
“I was in a state where my body was so sick and shut off and the infection was so bad that after being in an emergency I remember very little until I woke up in ICU.
‘Everything starts at this point. I am in a serious situation and I am far from out of danger. Being strong was the only option. But I suffered emotionally and mentally.
“I left that morning at 5 in the morning and made my sleeping six-year-old think I would be right back. I never thought we’d be divorced for sixty-five days.
“I was heartbroken but that was my motivation to keep on fighting.”
She was deeply saddened by the thought of being separated from her six year old daughter AnnJolie and this was her motivation to keep fighting.
While she had a lot of antibiotics, Mrs. Harbottle had a debridement every three days, that is, the removal of damaged tissue or foreign objects from a wound.
Once her skin was healthier, the next phase had undergone a skin transplant, but an abscess developed just before that.
Mrs. Harbottle almost missed the amputation of her arm. While she had a lot of antibiotics, Mrs. Harbottle had a debridement every three days. Pictured, her hand in a vacuum seal
Mrs. Harbottle is still in occupational therapy to learn how to use her fingers again after her surgeries. Her new hand is depicted as completely healed
Mrs. Harbottle had to be flown to another hospital where she again underwent surgery on her forearm and ring finger, where the cut was initially.
In January 2018, she had a groin flapping procedure, taking a piece of healthy tissue to replace the lost tissue.
Mrs. Harbottle said: “The pain was more than unbearable. I used heavy doses of drugs. The dressing change every two to three days was unbearable. I fought through a patient’s advocate to demand that he be subjected because I just couldn’t handle it.
“Antibiotics and pain relief were clear. But what accelerated the healing process was an amazing device called the Wound Vac.
‘It is a suction through a sponge that pulls the bad toxins out of the wound and regenerates a healthy blood stream.
“I also received a health and wellness treatment. Drugs for depression and anxiety were given that helped enormously.
‘They also visited a pet therapy. That was such a treat after I felt so alone. Another favorite was massage and aromatherapy twice a week.
‘Even the great food that kept me healthy and healing. Two follow-up operations were needed to release the graft because it was just a piece of fat on my part. “
Shortly after the skin transplant, Mrs. Harbottle was reunited with her daughter and is recovering.
While she is still in occupational therapy, she learns to use her fingers again after her operations, but she has learned to adapt to a new normal life.
She said: ‘I am still in occupational therapy and work hard to fully use my fingers again. It is definitely something that I have just adapted to, but I have a hard time with it.
“It’s the little things; creating change, unscrewing things, etc. I also got a frozen shoulder, so just getting dressed or bobbing a hair in the hair is still a struggle. But you adapt and learn in a different way.
“I am so happy that I am in the days I have been praying for; when I look back and say it’s over. And to have my daughter in my arms and all my family. I am really lucky and blessed to be here.
“In the long run, I am always very aware of what could happen as a result of something so small. We also look forward to any type of fever.
“Without a fever, I wouldn’t have wondered what was really going on and I wear gloves when I do work, especially outside.”
Mrs Harbottle is grateful that she is alive and wants to spread the awareness of NF.
She said: ‘I would just try to find the positive joy every day. Release yourself yesterday. Don’t worry about tomorrow being too perfect and just be present in those twenty-four hours.
“As terrible as you have it at that moment, someone else is worse than you. Be grateful for what is. ”