The life of a former gymnast has just turned into a nightmare. After suddenly developing a TSS, Anna Norquist, a 30-year-old American woman, had to have her right arm and left leg amputated. For now, doctors are unable to determine the origin of this toxic shock and further amputations are already planned.
Patrick Norquist is reassuring on his Facebook account by announcing that his sister is ‘awake and that her kidneys seem to have begun to work properly.’ On the other hand, he indicates that her left hand will have to be amputated in a few hours (her right arm already was) and probably her right foot as well (after her left leg) next Monday. But how could Anna’s life, a former gymnast, have changed so quickly?
Sudden flu symptoms
One week ago, Anna Norquist was a young woman in great shape. After living in Austin, Texas, she had just returned to live with her parents in Indiana. Last Friday, she attended a concert and began to feel the symptoms of a flu the following Sunday.
After 24 hours, her condition worsened. ‘She could not lift her head nor take a sip of water. Her kidneys hurt and she could not urinate,’ says her brother. She was then admitted to the hospital and put in an artificial coma as her pain was unsustainable and her blood pressure was low.
She was then transported to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. The diagnosis was finally made: Anna had developed a toxic shock syndrome caused by a group A streptococcus, a bacterium responsible for benign infections such as anginas and throat infections but which can also be the cause of very severe and even fatal invasive infections.
An origin that has yet to be determined
The evolution of the bacterium could not be stopped and the young woman already had to undergo a dozen interventions including the amputation of her right arm and her left arm. For the moment, doctors cannot figure out how Anna contracted the bacteria, which can be deadly.
‘They do not know and may never know how the infection started. They think maybe it came from the right arm and that's probably why they took it off first,’ Anna's father told Fox Channel 59.
Toxic shock syndrome is often linked to the use of tampons, and what’s more, the latter would be involved in half of all cases of TSS, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It can also develop following a skin infection, a burn or after a surgical operation. According to Anna's brother Patrick, who spoke to Today, she was not using tampons.
The latest news is that Anna is still fighting to stay alive and she should undergo an amputation of her left hand soon and then that of her right foot.