A mother lost her hands, feet, nose, lips and tip of her tongue to sepsis after she was bitten by a mongoose between her thumb and forefinger.
Shaninlea Visser, 36, from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, cleaned the wound after being attacked at her former boss’s house and didn’t think about it.
The mother, who has a 13-year-old daughter, collapsed two days after feeling that her hands and feet were on fire and was taken to the hospital.
Doctors put her in an 11-day coma as they fought to save her life and perform the amputations.
The mother has now had to learn to walk again and undergo 66 reconstructive operations. She is scheduled for a further jaw operation in April.
Shaninlea Visser, 36, from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, collapsed into her former boss’s house in two days after she was bitten by the mongoose.
The mother, who has a 13-year-old daughter, was put in a coma for 11 days when doctors fought to save her life. She is pictured after she came around the hospital
The mother’s hand after she was bitten, left, with a yellow ring showing where she was bitten, and the mother before she was bitten, right
“The doctor did a blood test, but they couldn’t figure out exactly what caused the sepsis,” she said, “but being bung by the mongoose two days earlier is probably the cause.”
“I never expected what would happen – I felt nauseous, had a stomach upset, but then I fainted a few times.
‘My colleagues found me and my ex-boss rushed me to the hospital because I had unbearable pain with my hands and feet and it felt like they were on fire.
“I was kept in a coma for 11 days while my kidneys, liver, and other vital organs failed.
“A few days later my family was called in and they were told that if I didn’t respond to the antibiotics, they couldn’t do much for me anymore.
“When my body started responding to the antibiotics, they started taking me out of the coma.
“They tried to keep my hands covered so that I would not see that they had turned black, but when I was strong enough, they told me what had happened.
The mother pictured in the hospital receiving oxygen. Her limbs were amputated while she was in a coma
The mother’s toes depicted in the hospital after she was bitten by a mongoose
Mrs. Visser after recovering from the mongoose bite in the hospital (left) and the mother while she was in an induced coma (right)
‘I told them’ you have to do what you have to do ‘- I had to fight for Kiara, I had to show her that when something good or bad happens to you, you can’t give up, you have to keep going.
“I was in shock when I realized the extent of my amputations, but I had to be strong for my daughter – there was nothing I could have said to them because they did what they had to do what they did to save me.”
Shan was bitten by the mongoose three years ago and was placed in the induced coma on January 19, 2017 after being diagnosed with sepsis and disseminated intravascular coagulation.
Doctors amputated both legs under the knee on February 6, both arms under the elbow on February 8, and her nose and lips were removed on February 17.
She also lost the upper part of her jaw and eight top teeth with one lower tooth in January 2019 when a plastic surgeon was working to rebuild her nose and lips.
The mother introduced herself with a sign after her treatment for sepsis. Since then she has undergone 66 reconstructive operations
The mother introduced her daughter Kiara before she was diagnosed with sepsis
The mother introduced herself with her daughter Kiara before she became sick with sepsis
Shan said: ‘I have had 66 operations to date and my nose has been reconstructed from a skin graft of my thigh and rib bone.
“This was first built on my forehead until there was enough blood to” swing “it around and place where its nose should be.
“My lips were also reconstructed from my thigh, this was done by placing a tissue expander under the skin and for a few weeks I had to have injected saline into this bag to stretch the skin.”
When Shan had 300 ml of saline in the bag, her skin was sufficiently stretched for the plastic surgeon to use the extra skin to reconstruct her lips.
This was her longest operation, which lasted 13 hours, while her next one will be in April.
She was bitten by a mongoose. Meerkats (photo) are members of the Mongoose family
Shan says she is grateful for all the support she has received and added: “I believe there is a reason why I am still here and that is to tell my story and motivate people to realize that one day wake up low, it’s just that day, the next day is a new day, full of opportunities.
“If I hadn’t been strong, I don’t think I’d be here today, as soon as you get a little bit of negativity in your head, you get depressed and everything goes downhill from there.
“I want people to become aware of what sepsis can cause – life is too short, grab the bull by the horns and go for it.”