Flesh Eating Bacteria Survivor: Liz Haley, Australia

Here’s an inspiring story of a 61-year old Australian woman who survived the deadly flesh-eating bacteria and who is now working to help raise funds to buy a machine for a local hospital which helped her beat the disease. You go, girl!

From the Daily Mercury, by Fallon Hudson:

AT 61, Liz Haley didn’t let her age and diabetes stop her from beating the flesh-eating bacteria neocrotising fasciitis.

In fact, Mrs Haley was so impressed by the staff of Mackay Base Hospital and a machine called a Vacuum Assisted Wound Closure (VAC) machine – she wants to raise money so the hospital can have one on a permanent basis.

Mrs Haley contacted the Daily Mercury after reading Ben Ball’s amazing story of survival after he fell victim to the flesh-eating bug in May this year.

Mrs Haley said when the flesh-eating bacteria struck, her first symptoms were the shakes and nausea. “On the Saturday night at dinner I had the shakes really bad, so I went to bed. I was up all night vomiting.”

She then told her husband, Brian, to ring the ambulance and get her to the hospital. It wasn’t until she noticed a circle of blue dots on her leg that she and her husband became alarmed.

Mr Haley said his wife’s health deteriorated rapidly, her blood pressure dropped, she went into cardiac arrest and septicaemia was spreading through her body.

“Everything shut down and the doctors then had to take me into the ICU,” Mrs Haley said.

“They operated from the top of my ankle to the top of my knee. If cutting out the bacteria and bad parts of my leg didn’t work they were going to cut off my leg.”

Mrs Haley said the VAC machine was brilliant and helped with her recovery. “I had the VAC on my wound for weeks,” she said.

Mackay Health Service District acting director of medical services Dr Jack Sparrow said the machine was estimated to be worth $30,000.

He said depending on the patient’s condition, size and type of wound, some receiving treatment for neocrotising fasciitis could be treated with a VAC machine.

“VAC is a specialised form of wound healing treatment that applies suction to the wound and works by sucking all the excess fluid out of the wound.

“This suction provides a better blood supply to the healing tissue.

“It helps the wound heal more rapidly as there is an increased supply of oxygen and the cells needed for wound healing in the area.”

Dr Sparrow said Mackay Base Hospital has access to a number of the machines as needed.

“We thank the former patient for her support for her local hospital and willingness to raise additional funds,” he said.