Texas mother-of-two narrowly survives rare-flesh eating bacteria caused by freak combination of a sinus infection and tearing a muscle while putting away Christmas decorations
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
- Casey Sommerfeldt, from Fort Worth, Texas, was putting Christmas decorations away last January when she tore a chest muscle
- A few days later, her upper left arm began swelling before black blisters formed
- She rushed herself to the emergency room, where doctors diagnosed her with necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria that destroys tissue under the skin
- Doctors said they believed strep bacteria, which had caused her recent sinus infection, had infected her torn muscle
- The dead tissue was removed and a skin graft from Sommerfeldt’s leg was used to repair the damaged area
A Texas mother-of-two narrowly survived a rare-flesh eating bacteria after it infected a torn muscle.
Casey Sommerfeldt was putting away Christmas decorations in her attic last January when she fell and injured a muscle in her chest.
A few days later, her left upper arm began to turn red and swell. It wasn’t long before it was bruised and then turned black.
Sommerfeldt rushed herself to the emergency room in Fort Worth, where doctors diagnosed her with necrotizing fasciitis, a fast-moving infection that destroys tissue under the skin, reported NBC 5.
Sommerfeldt was told that strep bacteria had caused the infection and, if they didn’t treat her immediately, her arm would need to be amputated.
Luckily, her arm was saved but doctors needed to used a skin graft from her leg to repair the damaged area.
Casey Sommerfeldt (right, with her husband), from Fort Worth, Texas, was putting Christmas decorations away last January when she tripped and tore a chest muscle
A few days later, her upper left arm began swelling and turning red (left) before black blisters formed (right). Sommerfeldt rushed herself to the emergency room, where doctors diagnosed her with necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria that destroys tissue under the skin
Sommerfeldt told NBC 5 that when she initially injured her chest muscle, she just assumed she would need to rest for a few days and was surprised when her arm began swelling and turning red.
‘It became very painful,’ she said of the black blisters that formed a few days later.
She went to the hospital to have an MRI done, but the results came back negative.
However, after being in indescribable pain one day, Sommerfeldt rushed herself to the emergency room at Texas Health Resources in Fort Worth.
Doctors told her she was in septic shock, which is when a dramatic drop in blood pressure stops blood flow to the organs and can result in death.
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After tests were run, Sommerfeldt was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, a rare bacterial infection that quickly kills surrounding tissue.
The exact cause of the infection is unknown, but it can enter the body through the tiniest cut or scrape in the skin.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), public health experts believe group A Streptococcus bacteria are the most common cause of the infection.
Doctors determined that a form of this bacteria, which had caused Sommerfeldt’s recent sinus infection, had entered the muscle tear caused by her fall, NBC 5 reported.
Between 700 and 1,200 cases occur in the US each year, according to the CDC.
Doctors said they believed strep bacteria, which had caused her recent sinus infection, had infected her torn muscle. Group A strep infections are believed to be the most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis. Pictured: Sommerfeldt
The dead tissue in Sommerfeldt’s upper arm was removed and a skin graft from her leg was used to repair the damaged area (pictured)
Early symptoms include a red or swollen area of the skin and severe pain. Later symptoms can include dizziness, nausea, blisters and change in skin color.
The health agency says that a prompt diagnosis and rapid treatment is key to stopping the infection in its tracks.
This includes antibiotics or surgery when medication is unable to reach the tissue that has already been infected.
The CDC says about 25 to 30 percent of necrotizing fasciitis cases every year result in death.
Sommerfeldt’s medical team told her that they might need to amputate her arm if they were unable to stop the infection from spreading.
Luckily, there were able to remove the dead tissue and used a skin graft from her leg to repair the damaged area.
‘Every day, I think about. Every day, when I’m playing outside with my kids, there’s a possibility I would have not been here,’ she told NBC 5.
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