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Brisbane mother was nearly ‘eaten alive’ by flesh-eating bug

An Australian mother was nearly ‘eaten alive’ by a flesh-eating bug after scratching her finger when she caught her ring.

Clare Scott, from Brisbane, said she was left looking like a shark attack victim and came close to death after her right arm and hand were ravaged by a virulent bacteria.

Doctors battled to save the 37-year-old’s limb by using skin from her right thigh – one of nine operations she has endured – to cover the gaping wounds.

During her treatment, medics said they believed she had necrotising fasciitis – a rare but serious bacterial infection, referred to as a ‘flesh-eating bug.’

Mrs Scott, a stay-at-home mother, believes her problems started when she caught her finger moving house in May 2017. 

Australian mother Clare Scott (pictured) was nearly ‘eaten alive’ by a flesh-eating bug after scratching her finger when she caught her ring. She is pictured in hospital as doctors battled to save her limb

Doctors battled to save the 37-year-old's limb by using skin from her right thigh - one of nine operations she has endured - to cover the gaping wounds. Her right hand is shown after the skin graft

Doctors battled to save the 37-year-old’s limb by using skin from her right thigh – one of nine operations she has endured – to cover the gaping wounds. Her right hand is shown after the skin graft

Doctors told Mrs Scott (pictured in hospital with sons Winston, Orson and Finley) during treatment that they believed she had necrotising fasciitis

Doctors told Mrs Scott (pictured in hospital with sons Winston, Orson and Finley) during treatment that they believed she had necrotising fasciitis

She said: ‘At one point, I looked like the victim of a shark attack. I truly count myself as being lucky to be alive.’ 

When she and her IT engineer husband, Alister, 36, moved into their new home on May 20 last year, she was so busy unpacking that she did not remember catching her ring finger on her right hand.

She said: ‘I noticed a small pain, but I had been doing a lot of moving and washing-up, so I thought I must have caught it on something, but it was nothing serious.

‘I had children to organise and a house to unpack, so I was just keen on getting on with it.’

But, by the evening of May 20, Mrs Scott – who has three children, Winston, four, Orson, six, and Finley, eight – said the bottom of her finger was swollen and red and she started vomiting, prompting Alister to call a doctor.

Clare Scott, from Brisbane, said she was left looking like a shark attack victim after her right arm was ravaged by a virulent bacteria

Clare Scott, from Brisbane, said she was left looking like a shark attack victim after her right arm was ravaged by a virulent bacteria

She added: ‘When the doctor arrived at around 5pm she said it looked like it was infected and that I needed to go to A&E at our local hospital.’

Taking a taxi to nearby Greenslopes Private Hospital, leaving Alister at home with the children, waiting for their grocery order to be delivered, she was seen by a doctor and given intravenous antibiotics.

‘My whole hand had swollen up and the pain and feeling of pressure was spreading up my arm,’ Mrs Scott recalled.

‘But still I didn’t think it was serious. I insisted Alister and the kids wait for the shop at home, before coming to collect me later.’

Instead, doctors decided to keep her in overnight, saying she would be released by morning.

Overwhelmed by pain, though, Mrs Scott woke up screaming. 

She said: ‘My hand and arm looked like a balloon had been blown up. They were getting bigger and bigger. I felt like it my limb would explode any moment.’

Alarmed hospital staff called a surgeon out of theatre, who warned Mrs Scott that she would need surgery straight away, to alleviate the pressure.

Mrs Scott, a stay-at-home mother, believes her problems started when she caught her finger moving house, in May 2017, when she caught her right hand with her ring finger. Her hand is pictured being cleaned out during her treatment

Mrs Scott, a stay-at-home mother, believes her problems started when she caught her finger moving house, in May 2017, when she caught her right hand with her ring finger. Her hand is pictured being cleaned out during her treatment

Mrs Scott had to endure an emergency debriding procedure, to cut out the dead tissue. Pictures show how deep the doctors had to go to remove the affected area

Mrs Scott had to endure an emergency debriding procedure, to cut out the dead tissue. Pictures show how deep the doctors had to go to remove the affected area

The stay-at-home mother was discharged on June 16 last year, but then had liposuction in February this year, to reduce the size of her hand. Her inflated limb is pictured before the procedure

The stay-at-home mother was discharged on June 16 last year, but then had liposuction in February this year, to reduce the size of her hand. Her inflated limb is pictured before the procedure

Mrs Scott (pictured relaxing at Christmas) said her problems started when the bottom of her finger was swollen and red and she started vomiting

Mrs Scott (pictured relaxing at Christmas) said her problems started when the bottom of her finger was swollen and red and she started vomiting

Mrs Scott is pictured before her ordeal with husband Alister and their three children

Mrs Scott is pictured before her ordeal with husband Alister and their three children

Making an incision from Mrs Scott’s hand up to her elbow, surgeons aimed to reduce the swelling and test the skin, to find out what was causing the infection.

Baffled when the limb remained swollen and the pain intensified, she was transferred to intensive care, and two days after surgery went under the knife twice more, enabling the doctor to open the wound and perform further tests.

After her third operation on May 26, medics delivered the devastating news to Mrs Scott and her family that they believed she had necrotising fasciitis – a rare but serious bacterial infection, referred to as a ‘flesh eating bug’.

The following day she had an emergency debriding procedure, to cut out the dead tissue.

‘I was told there was a 50 per cent chance of me coming out of the operation alive,’ she said.

‘Even then, there was a real chance I could lose my fingers, hand or even my whole arm.

When Mrs Scott (left) and her IT engineer husband, Alister (right), 36, moved into their new home on May 20 last year, she was so busy unpacking that she did not remember catching her ring finger on her right hand

When Mrs Scott (left) and her IT engineer husband, Alister (right), 36, moved into their new home on May 20 last year, she was so busy unpacking that she did not remember catching her ring finger on her right hand

After her third operation on May 26, medics delivered the devastating news to Mrs Scott and her family that they believed she had necrotising fasciitis - a rare but serious bacterial infection, referred to as a 'flesh eating bug'

After her third operation on May 26, medics delivered the devastating news to Mrs Scott and her family that they believed she had necrotising fasciitis – a rare but serious bacterial infection, referred to as a ‘flesh eating bug’

Doctors used skin from her thigh to cover her injuries. She then had to have further surgery to separate her fingers. She is pictured the procedure

Doctors used skin from her thigh to cover her injuries. She then had to have further surgery to separate her fingers. She is pictured the procedure

Mrs Scott said that before one operation she was told 'there was a 50 per cent chance of me coming out of the operation alive'

Mrs Scott said that before one operation she was told ‘there was a 50 per cent chance of me coming out of the operation alive’

‘That’s when I really freaked out and broke down. I was a mum, I had a loving husband, and I couldn’t imagine my family not having me around, or not being able to carry out all the normal activities we enjoyed – like going to the park, or hugging my kids.’

Skilled surgeons managed to save her arm, but Mrs Scott realised she had a long road ahead of her.

She continued: ‘I just wanted things to go back to how they were.

‘I had huge black stitches in my hand and I was told I would need more procedures to wash it out and keep it clean, before having a skin graft to cover the area where the dead skin had been removed from.

‘Being in intensive care meant I didn’t get to see my children very much, because it was such a morbid environment we decided it wouldn’t be good for them to be in there.’

Then, on June 5, just over two weeks after she first started feeling ill, Mrs Scott had her most major operation to date.

Although she knows she will never regain the feeling in her right hand, Mrs Scott (pictured) is determined to get as much movement back as possible

Although she knows she will never regain the feeling in her right hand, Mrs Scott (pictured) is determined to get as much movement back as possible

Although she knows she will never regain the feeling in her right hand, Mrs Scott (pictured) is determined to get as much movement back as possible

On June 5, just over two weeks after she first started feeling ill, Mrs Scott had her most major operation to date. In an 11-hour procedure, medics used skin from her inner right thigh to cover the flesh that had been removed

On June 5, just over two weeks after she first started feeling ill, Mrs Scott had her most major operation to date. In an 11-hour procedure, medics used skin from her inner right thigh to cover the flesh that had been removed

Doctors had to clean out her arm and hand and remove any of the dead tissue before they could carry out further treatment

Doctors had to clean out her arm and hand and remove any of the dead tissue before they could carry out further treatment

In an 11-hour procedure, medics used skin from her inner right thigh to cover the flesh that had been removed from her hand and arm – leaving her fingers webbed, so the graft would take.

She said: ‘It was strange seeing the freckles I was used to have on my leg, right there on my hand. Leg skin is so different, so much thicker, so it made my hand enormous.

‘I had to learn to use my left hand , as I had done my right – even learning to write again.

‘As a right-handed person, anything I write now, using my left hand, looks really childlike.’

Kept in hospital for another two weeks, Mrs Scott had intensive physiotherapy, to try and stimulate movement. She also had further surgery to separate her fingers, on August 28.

Mrs Scott (pictured with son Winston) has had intensive physiotherapy, to try and stimulate movement. She also had further surgery to separate her fingers, on August 28

Mrs Scott (pictured with son Winston) has had intensive physiotherapy, to try and stimulate movement. She also had further surgery to separate her fingers, on August 28

Gruesome hospital pictures show the lengths doctors went to in a bid to clean out the affected area

Gruesome hospital pictures show the lengths doctors went to in a bid to clean out the affected area

Mrs Scott was sent home to recover after a skin graft. Pictures show her hand after the operation

Mrs Scott was sent home to recover after a skin graft. Pictures show her hand after the operation

Discharged on June 16, she then had liposuction in February this year, to reduce the size of her hand.

Although she knows she will never regain the feeling in her right hand, Mrs Scott is determined to get as much movement back as possible.

‘I want to be able to pick my children up properly, hug them, and be able to play with them without being in pain,’ she added.

‘I am so happy I kept my hand, but I have still lost an awful lot, although I’m hoping I’ll regain full movement. But I’m so grateful to the doctors and to my family.

‘I really couldn’t have got through all this without Alister’s support, he’s been incredible.’ 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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