It was a simple scrape on her arm from a fall in the Terra Nova High School parking lot last February that almost turned deadly for Pacifica resident Lori Madsen.
Days after the fall, a flesh-eating bacteria took over her wound, nearly costing her her arm and her life.
and is back to full health with complete use of her arm, which looks about 75 percent back to normal with a minor scar, she said.
It all started with the scrape and then flu like symptoms including fever, sweats and thirst. Madsen sought medical attention at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, but when she suddenly went into toxic shock and lost consciousness doctors realized this was no ordinary skin infection.
Her condition continued to decline and spread to other areas of her arm, even after the infection had been cleared with IV antibiotics, requiring emergency surgery to treat her wound.
Diagnosed with “necrotizing fasciitis,” which is described by WebMD as a bacterial infection that “can destroy skin, fat, and the tissue covering the muscles within a very short time,” Madsen had blisters covering her whole entire arm.
It is not clear exactly how she contracted the airborne bacteria. It is not contagious. The fall did cause an abrasion on her arm, however, the jacket she was wearing was untouched and did not have any signs of tear, she said.
It was Dr. John Crew's expertise in wound care and irrigation with NeutroPhase that helped stop the deadly toxins from spreading, potentially saving her arm and her life, she said.
NeutroPhase is an FDA-cleared wound cleanser that consists of a solution of pure hypochlorous acid (HOCl), which mimics the compounds produced naturally by white blood cells to combat infection in the body.
After three and half weeks in the hospital, Madsen underwent treatment at home for an additional three weeks injecting NeutroPhase every four hours.
It was during this time that she saw Dr. Crew twice a week for bandage changes and then once a month until the end of June. Her physical therapy lasted until May.
Madsen says she had to “stay as positive” as she could and that she needed “tremendous family support and faith in the lord.”