Woman Loses Unborn Baby, Has Legs Amputated After Catching Infection

A woman had both of her legs amputated and lost her unborn baby after an infection left her fighting for her life.

Leana Stendell's ordeal started around two years ago when she woke up vomiting. Twelve hours later she was in a medically induced coma, she told Australian news website 7News.

Stendell had caught group A Streptococcus, a bacteria that can trigger a range of responses in people—from a mild sore throat to death. Stendell's condition worsened when she developed sepsis, a condition that occurs when the body has a potentially deadly overreaction to an infection. Sepsis can be set off by almost any type of infection.

According to a GoFundMe page set up on her and her family's behalf, she also developed toxic shock syndrome—a condition that can be caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria—as well as multiple organ failure.

Stendell was hospitalized for four months, and had both of her legs amputated below the knee after developing necrosis following her infection.

Stendell, who has two young daughters and a husband, was pregnant at the time and lost her unborn baby at 33 weeks, seven weeks short of full term.

"I think for my family, that was traumatic because I was asleep, so I don't have any memory of that and they are there holding that memory instead," she told 7News,

Stendell was treated at Royal Perth Hospital, where Jonathon Burcham, emergency research nurse manager, is studying sepsis.

In Australia, over 15,700 people develop sepsis each year, according to research. A study published last year showed there were 49 million sepsis cases globally in 2017, and 11 million related deaths.

Burcham told 7News: "Sepsis is a time-critical emergency, where the body's response to an infection can cause shock or organ failure or death."

Anyone can get sepsis, but those who are aged 65 years old and over, people with certain chronic conditions such as diabetes and cancer, as well as those with weakened immune systems, children under one, and people who had survived it are more at risk.

When Stendell was in a coma, she received an "overwhelming show of support for her and her family," according to her GoFundMe page.

"Family has traveled from interstate, friends have donated food and the outpouring of love and light sent from all corners of her community and beyond has been immense," it said.

So far, the page has raised almost A$60,000 ($46,500).

Stendell told 7News her doctor didn't think she would survive.

She said: "He wrote in his notes that I wasn't going to make it, make the night... but I did!"

hospital patient, stock, getty
A stock image shows a hospital patient. Leana Stendell was in a coma for four months after catching an infection. Getty Images