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A mum-of-six has been left "unable to stand for longer than five minutes" following a rare flesh-eating bacterial infection which caused her to hallucinate.
Sarah Humphrey, 41, from London, gave birth to her sixth child (second daughter), in 2018 via an emergency C-section.
Three days after the operation, she knew something was not right when black bruises appeared around the wound but was told this was “normal”, MyLondon reports.
The 41-year-old said that the next day, the C-section scar began to give off an unpleasant smell that she described as “rotting meat that’s been left in the sun.”
Liquid poured from the wound and she began to hallucinate.
It quickly became clear that she was suffering from a ‘flesh-eating,’ bacterial infection called necrotising fasciitis which affects tissue, muscles and organs.
The bacteria release toxins which damage nearby tissues and it can be very quickly fatal if not treated immediately.
Even with treatment, the NHS states that one or two in every five cases are fatal.
Sarah said her partner at the time was told to take what could be a last photo of her: “I heard them say to my partner, ‘put the baby on her and take a photo because it doesn't look like she's coming back out of theatre.’
“It was a mad rush to the [operating] room and there was a meeting, I didn't know about at the time, about whether or not they were going to try to keep me alive or just let me go without pain.”
One surgeon travelled from Amsterdam to assist with the operation, during which they cut three stone of rotting flesh from her stomach to save her life.
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She was hospitalised for 10 weeks and underwent 14 operations.
Because she had been bed-bound for so long, the Londoner struggled to walk.
To make matters worse, she developed a hernia which is yet to be operated on, and it has massively reduced her mobility.
She said: “I can't stand up for longer than, say five minutes because I’m physically sick through the pain of it.”
After buying a mobility scooter, she had a sense of normality: “That gave me back a whole life again. I was never at home, I could go shopping, go out with my friends. I was able to go to parents’ evenings again.”
A year later, the mobility scooter broke, stripping Sarah of her independence and, unable to afford the £550 to repair it, she said: “I’ve literally not left the house for two months.”
She has set up a GoFundMe page to try and raise the money so she can buy a new scooter to gain her life back once more and take care of her six children, aged from three to 20 years old.
“I could take the youngest to nursery. She starts nursery this month. Until I can get it fixed or a replacement, I won’t be able to take her at all.”
She also said she wants to regain precious time with her youngest: “I missed so much when I was in hospital because she [the baby] had to go home. It was basically three months until I was well enough to do anything with her.”
Sarah is waiting for a hernia repair operation but, due to Covid delays, she is yet to be given a date as it is not classed as a “life-threatening” condition.
After the hernia operation and some follow up surgeries for the initial infection, she hopes to make a full recovery.
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