A mom-of-three told how she nearly died after a cut on her eyebrow turned into a horrific flesh-eating bug that ate through half her face.
Donna Corden, from Leeds, slipped in the kitchen and banged her head on the cooker in January this year, leaving a gash on her eyebrow.
The 45-year-old then developed a deadly infection called necrotising fasciitis and ended up in a coma for four days fighting for her life.
A week after she came round, doctors took skin and muscle from Donna’s leg to repair the damage to her face.
She will need further surgery to re-build her face once the swelling has subsided.
Donna said: “I still can’t believe a small cut above my left eyebrow triggered something so horrific.
“After I’d fallen my doctor put a few butterfly stitches across it. He was sure I’d be fine but sent me to the hospital for an x-ray to be on the safe side.
“The results were all clear so I went home to rest.”
The next day Donna began to feel dizzy and sick and her face started to swell up.
Daughter Jayde, 26, phoned for an ambulance and Donna was taken to Leeds General Infirmary for a CT scan.
Donna recalled: “I was still convinced I was fine and had a tummy bug, but as the hours passed I’d never felt so ill.
“The doctors told me I had a very dangerous infection, but by this time I was drifting in and out of consciousness.
“The next thing I remember is coming round a week later in intensive care.”
Necrotising fasciitis can be caused by various types of bacteria, some of which can live on the skin without causing any problem.
In rare cases, the condition is triggered when bacteria seeps into the blood stream.
The infection had quickly spread through Donna’s body, causing her kidneys and heart to shut down.
She’d also developed sepsis, a serious complication of the infection which causes multiple organ failure.
Donna said: “I was far from out of the woods because the infection had eaten half my face.
“Underneath the bandages there was raw tissue and muscle.
“When I woke up I asked for a mirror and when I saw my reflection I broke down.
“I looked like a monster with a rugby ball stitched to the side of my face. I was in absolute bits.
“The skin around my left eye was black, and I had no sight on that side.
“I just wanted to hide myself away because I looked so awful.”
Four months on, Donna will need more reconstructive surgery and has been told it could be a year before her face starts to look normal again.
She admitted: “I’m still struggling to get my head around everything that’s happened.
“I’m only just building up the confidence to go out again.
“Doctors managed to save my eye but it’s going to be a while before I get my sight back completely.
“I’ll never look the same again, but I’m lucky to be alive, that’s what matters more than anything.”
Donna and her family are raising money for intensive care beds and towards research for the maxillofacial team at the Leeds General Infirmary.
They are keen to boost awareness about necrotising fasciitis. If you would like to donate, visit their fundraising page.
This article first appeared on The Sun.