DALY CITY (CBS 5) — Lori Madsen of Pacifica nearly lost her arm and her life. What started as a scrape after a simple fall on the asphalt two months ago, turned into something out of a horror movie.

“That night, I started getting really sick. My arm started hurting really, really bad,” Madsen said.

A flesh-eating bacteria called necrotizing fasciitis was infecting her arm.

“I had blisters covering my whole entire arm,” Madsen recalled.

Madsen credits Dr. John Crew, lead wound surgeon at Seton Medical Center in Daly City for saving her. “He saved my arm and my life,” she said.

“She’s my treasure,” Crew told CBS 5.

Madsen went to the emergency room. After a few days, her situation became worse. Dr. Crew was doing rounds one morning and heard her in pain. He grabbed her chart to find out what he could do.

“He was my angel, he just happened to come out of the nurses station,” Madsen recalled.

During an emergency procedure, Crew used a treatment called NeutroPhase, developed by a Bay Area company, to prevent deadly toxins from spreading. The treatment worked.

“We put a catheter in and treated it. It took care of the toxins up in there and it didn’t make a scar,” Crew said.

Two months later, Madsen is swimming again and thankful to be alive. Her family, who remembers the ordeal like it was yesterday, is also grateful.

Contracting the flesh-eating bacteria is very rare. It can enter the body through an injury, such as a minor cut, and multiply quickly. Initial symptoms are flu-like and the body can go into shock from the toxins released. Dr. Crew suggests washing a cut thoroughly to reduce the risk of any infection.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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