Alexis Hanford probably wasn't thinking about fighting a flesh eating disease when she was crowned the Homecoming Princess at her school, and we can't blame her — that moment was hers, regardless of medical issues. She deserved it.
Just six weeks before, though, the 16-year-old was in a hospital bed at Children’s National Medical Center.
She was sweating with a fever of 104 degrees as she battled a rare and especially vicious strain of necrotizing fasciitis, the same bug that attacked Aimee Copeland. She had to have 17 operations to cut away dead skin and muscle in a bid to save her left leg and her life.
Scarily, her story mimics that of Aimee's really closely. Aimee was zip-lining when she she fell into water with a gash in her leg. Alexis was tree-swinging when she fell into a lake with a gash in her leg, caused by a run-in with the tree's bark.
It wasn’t the Streptococcus that is the more common cause of flesh-eating disease, but rather an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria that includes aeromonas, or water-related microbes — and all it took for them to figure out something was wrong was Alexis' leg bursting because of built up pressure.
Here's how they stopped the disease:
Doctors put Alexis on an intravenous drip with the broadest spectrum of antibiotics, and she was wheeled into the operating room every few days so doctors could cut away dead muscle and tissue. In a novel intervention, small beads of cement that had been immersed in antibiotics were delivered directly to the wound and replaced during each surgery.
They had to use cement!
Luckily, it worked — and Alexis is on the road back to full recovery!
Congrats on the homecoming win, Alexis!! We love happy endings!
[Image via WaPo.]
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