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Flesh-eating bacteria left woman needing 15 surgeries and learning to walk again

Flesh-eating bacteria left woman needing 15 surgeries and learning to walk again

Carolyn Gower was found by her children suffering from delirium and a high fever

A woman’s life ‘hung in the balance’ after she was infected by a flesh-eating bacteria, which led to her needing 15 surgeries.

Carolyn Gower, a grief coach and podcaster, from Ballarat, Australia, had been healthy before she was struck down by a mystery illness.

The Australian woman’s children found her on the evening of 14 March suffering from delirium and a high fever.

She was rushed to the hospital where it was determined she had been infected with necrotising fasciitis, a deadly flesh-eating bacteria.

Carolyn Gower was rushed to the hospital after her children became concerned for her health.
Facebook/Carolyn Gower Coaching

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is a rare infection that spreads quickly through the body and can cause death.

Public health experts believe group A Streptococcus (group A strep) are the most common cause of necrotising fasciitis.

The bacteria most commonly enters the body through a break in the skin, such as cuts and scrapes, burns, insect bites, puncture wounds or surgical wounds, however, people can also get it after blunt trauma, an injury that does not break the skin.

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as symptoms develop. If Gower’s children hadn’t found her at home that evening, her chances of surviving the night were slim, according to her friend Susan Begbie, who has started a GoFundMe for her pal.

Gower’s life ‘hung in the balance’ for the next two weeks, Begbie wrote, explaining that her friend spent the next three to four weeks in an induced coma and had ‘numerous’ hyperbaric treatments, 15 surgeries including two skin grafts and spent two months in the burns unit at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.

Although Gower is now back at home, she is going through a ‘rigorous rehabilitation program’ which includes physiotherapy, exercise therapy, occupational therapy, speech and psychology ‘as she learns to walk and take care of her daily needs again, while processing the trauma she’s experienced’.

Her life ‘hung in the balance’.
GoFundMe/Carolyn Gower

Begbie set up the fundraising page for her friend, who lost her husband Tony in 2017, to raise money for medications, dressings and equipment needed for her recovery.

Ever since her husband’s death, Gower has faced some financial difficulty which has worsened because of her illness.

Begbie said: “These generous donations will assist Carolyn with the necessary requirements for her recovery including medications, dressings, equipment, safety rails and custom made compression garments, that are either not covered by any funding or have a very long wait time if they are.”

Gower’s loved ones are hoping she can attended the four-day Camp Widow event in Brisbane in August as part of her ‘healing’. The money she saved to attend the event had to be redirected to support her medical needs.

Gower is now back home and on a long road to recovery.
GoFundMe/Carolyn Gower

Begbie added: “Carolyn’s medical team are urging her to go for the healing benefits it will bring, and the hope of doing so has pushed Carolyn to achieve some of her rehabilitation milestones quicker than expected.

“Carolyn hasn’t been able to work for the past 4 months and it’s still unsure when she can return to her coaching business.

"Even when she does, it will be in a much lesser capacity for quite some time as she continues the long road to recovery.”

Necrotising fasciitis symptoms may include:

  • Intense pain or loss of feeling near a wound
  • Swelling of the skin near the affected area
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Confusion
  • Black, purple or grey blotches on the skin

You can donate to the GoFundMe page here.

Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Carolyn Gower Coaching

Topics: Health, Australia, World News