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Woman loses limbs to flesh-eating disease after doctor nicks her bowel

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According to the Daily Mail, 46-year-old Lisa-Marie Carter is suing her doctor in a medical malpractice lawsuit for perforating her bowel during outpatient ovarian cyst removal surgery and not fixing it. The wound resulted in the potentially deadly flesh-eating bacteria known as necrotizing fasciitis, which is a rare yet serious disease that can destroy body tissue, skin, and fat. After what should have been a four-hour surgery, Carter left the hospital six months later without hands and feet.

Carter claims that her doctor accidentally sliced through her bowel during her November 2010 procedure but didn’t even notice. Her lawsuit states that she used the restroom the next day, and her incision opened up, releasing “copious” amounts of fluid. Three days later, her doctor inspected the wound, found that the bowel had been sliced, and discovered the bacteria. He cut that part of her stomach away, according to the Mail, and Carter underwent another eight operations in 12 days to remove more of her stomach, intestines, and muscle.

“The suit claims that necrotizing fasciitis bacteria lurks in the intestine harmlessly but can cause infections if it is pierced,” wrote Daily Mail reporter Lydia Warren.

Carter’s forearms and lower legs were amputated when doctors realized they weren’t getting sufficient blood flow. She now endures rehabilitation sessions in which she must learn how to live with prosthetic limbs.

According to WebMD, one out of four people die from necrotizing fasciitis, a condition caused by several types of bacteria. People who are perfectly healthy can contract the infection, but those with lesions, chicken pox, surgical wounds, a weakened immune system, chronic health problems or are taking steroids are most susceptible to the disease.

The National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation states that there is no way to fully prevent necrotizing fasciitis, but there are some basic hygiene measures you can take to protect yourself, including these:

  • Wash your hands frequently to prevent spreading germs and bacteria to yourself and others
  • Seek medical attention immediately for any type of wound
  • Limit contact with anyone with strep throat as this condition can cause necrotizing fasciitis
  • Teach children the importance of cleanliness
  • Consult with your doctor about antibiotics if you come in contact with anyone with the infection.