‘When I got to hospital, doctors told me to say goodbye’: How a single mum’s decision to use her friend’s makeup brush nearly KILLED her – and left her wheelchair-bound
- Jo Gilchrist received a staph infection in 2015 after using friend’s makeup brush
- She was left paralysed from the chest down and was restricted to a wheelchair
- After undergoing surgeries to remove the abscess she remained unable to walk
- A year of gruelling physiotherapy later, Ms Gilchrist was able to run with her son
A young mother has revealed how a split second decision to use her friend’s makeup brush nearly killed her – and left her wheelchair-bound.
Jo Gilchrist, from Queensland, was left paralysed from the chest down in 2015 after a staph infection invaded her body through a small opening in her skin.
The single mother was forced to care for her son Tommy, who was just three at the time, with the news she’d never walk again.
Appearing wheelchair-bound on Channel Nine’s This Time Next Year, in a segment filmed in 2018 and broadcast on Monday, Ms Gilchrist spoke of her gruelling journey, pledging that within a year she would be able to run and play with her son.
Ms Gilchrist said that after borrowing the brush from her best friend, who had a staph boil, she started enduring agonising pain.
‘Over about the course of a month, I started getting horrendous back pain,’ Ms Gilchrist told host Karl Stefanovic.
‘Eventually I ended up being paralysed from my chest down.’
Jo Gilchrist, (pictured with son Tommy) developed a staph infection, becoming paralysed from the chest down in 2015
‘It ended up being an MRSA staph infection which is the most dangerous form of staph. It would have gone through a cut or pimple on my face, travelled around my body and implanted in my spinal cord.
‘By the time I got to the Brisbane hospital, they were basically telling me to say goodbye.’
She was left with no choice but to undergo immediate surgery to remove an abscess that was strangling her spinal cord.
Ms Gilchrist, appearing on This Time Next Year (pictured) pledged within a year she would be able to run and play with her son again
Even after the surgery, doctors said it was unlikely she would survive.
But the mother defied the odds and embarked on a year-long journey of pain staking physiotherapy and training in order to regain the mobility in her legs.
‘They told me they didn’t think I would ever walk again and I told them no, this isn’t how my story ends,’ she said.
‘It’ll be a lot of heavy duty physio and through my own determination and fight that I’ll get there. You watch me I’ll come out here and I’ll be running next year.’
After a year of intense physiotherapy, the single mother was able to
Appearing on the show a year later, Ms Gilchrist miraculously walked through the doors with her son by her side.
Ms Gilchrist said her son Tommy was the driving force behind her motivation to walk again.
‘I don’t think I would be here if it wasn’t for my little boy. He’s the fight that gets me through everyday,’ she said.
Appearing on the show a year later, Ms Gilchrist miraculously walked through the doors with her son by her side
What is a staph infection?
Staphylococcal, or ‘staph’, infections are caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus.
These can cause relatively minor skin infections, such as boils, as well as serious ones affecting the blood, lungs and heart.
Infections affecting the skin and soft tissue include:
- Boils – red, painful lumps that usually develop on the neck, face, armpits or buttocks
- Impetigo – causes sores, blisters and crusts; usually in children
- Skin abscesses – a collection of pus that appears as a painful lump under the skin’s surface
Invasive infections include:
- Endocarditis – infection of the inner heart lining, leading to fever, chest pain and coughing
- Pneumonia – lung infection that causes coughing, breathing difficulties and chest pain
- Sepsis – a violent immune response leads to fever, and a rapid breathing and heart rate
Around one in three people carry Staph bacteria harmlessly on their skin.
It only causes problems when it enters the body via cuts, grazes or medical equipment.
Antibiotics may be given or a minor procedure to drain pus from the skin.
For invasive infections, hospital treatment is required, which usually involves antibiotic injections over several days.
People can help to prevent Staph infections by:
- Washing their hands with soap and warm water frequently
- Keeping skin clean
- Not sharing towels, razors, bed linen or toothbrushes
- Keeping cuts clean and covered
Source: NHS Choices