Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Life On Hold

"Our whole family went in because we didn't know if she was going to make it -- for quite a number of days, it was very up and down."
"She was going to go on maternity leave, but now will go onto long-term disability -- she will have a long rehabilitation because of what happened."
"Cognitively, she's incredible -- she's one thousand per cent. She has said she just wants this to be done so she can go home and be a mom. She's being as strong as she can."
Susan Hubley, Halifax
Lindsey Hubley and fiance Mike Sampson pose with their newborn baby Myles Owen Sampson at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax on March 2.
Lindsey Hubley and fiance Mike Sampson pose with their newborn baby Myles Owen Sampson at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax on March 2. (Susan Hubley/The Canadian Press) 
"Having the odd case here or there is something that we see and it doesn't seem at this point to [be] any more unusual than our typical patterns, but it's something that we aggressively watch for."
"I don't think people need to be overly concerned about this at this point. We do see  cases every year, but it's always tragic when someone has a really bad infection."
Todd Hatchett, head, microbiology, Nova Scotia Health Authority
"What happened" was entirely unexpected; after all, what could be more normal than a young, healthy woman entering hospital for the delivery of a child? What happened was that after delivery -- when this new mother, a 33-year-old woman who experienced a normal delivery on March 2, and was discharged with her newborn -- she was suddenly rushed by ambulance right back, four days later, suffering excruciating pain.

On arrival back at hospital she was taken directly into surgery. A group A streptococcal infection was what happened. An infection linked to necrotizing fasciitis. And what happened was that this woman was going into septic shock, her life immediately threatened. The young woman was put into a coma then gradually brought out of the coma in the wake of several surgeries to remove diseased tissue. The prognosis is that she will recover, but it will be a long, arduous process.

The house the woman, her partner and her child live in will have to undergo some changes for the home to adapt to the young mother's new and limiting physical resources. She is scheduled to remain in hospital, however, for an estimated several months before medical authorities feel she will be in sufficient shape to once again be discharged, to begin the long journey back to health and a normal life, or whatever will represent normalcy in this woman's new reality.

The long-term consequences of her brush with death are unknown. How deeply her physical limitations will be and how permanent, will take time to assess and to help her adjust to. Flesh-eating disease is a horrible condition to attack seemingly healthy people, who suddenly find themselves in a nightmare of painful physical collapse as fortune decides whether or not it will permit them to survive that dreadful ordeal.

But not to be overly concerned, assures Dr. Hatchett; it is normal for one or two of such necrotizing fasciitis cases to suddenly occur yearly in the province. The very serious and mounting problem of hospital-acquired infections that defy increasingly the use of antibiotics is sufficiently worrisome; best to stay out of hospitals, if one can. The onset of those infections can be a mortal blow to the physically vulnerable.

The added nightmare of susceptibility of a fragment of the population to the haphazard occurrence of this lightning-strike disease serves to increase the anxiety level of anyone sufficiently informed with respect to the opportunistic bacteriums, viruses and diseases lurking prospectively to find new victims. Just as well, the general public remains blissfully unaware of such potential dangers.

After all, as the old saying goes, you could just step off the sidewalk inattentively (busy on your not-so-smartphone) and be struck fatally by a passing tractor-trailer .... ?

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