Former Gymnast Loses Limbs to Toxic Shock Syndrome After Believing She Had Flu

December 21, 2018 Updated: December 21, 2018
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The family of a 30-year-old former gymnast is trying to stay strong after news that she lost two limbs to toxic shock syndrome.

Anna Norquist was initially admitted to St. Joseph Health System Mishawaka Medical Center with what she thought was the flu.

But doctors found she had streptococcus A and later developed toxic shock syndrome.

Her right arm was amputated and she also lost her left leg. She’s already undergone a series of surgeries, each one of which could have cost her her life.

“We got our miracle that she’s stayed alive. The doctors said she shouldn’t have lived,” Patrick Norquist, the brother of patient Norquist, told WNDU.

“The doctors say that basically every surgery she has is life-threatening,” he added. “I’d give her both of my arms and both my legs if I could.”

He said that the family were stunned when Norquist emerged from delirium to speak with them.

“I’ve never experienced a miracle like that before,” Patrick Norquist said. “For 10 days, we weren’t sure if she was going to live, and then for her to say, ‘I love you,’ was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.”

Norquist’s father said that it was her “fighting spirit” that kept her alive.

He noted that doctors believe the toxic shock syndrome developed from the streptococcus.

“They don’t know and probably will never know exactly where [the] infection entered,” Gordon Norquist told Fox 59. “They think it was the right arm and that’s probably why they took it first.”

He said that the family is hopeful that Anna will recover but she’ll need to stay in the hospital for at least another four months.

Prior to the amputations, the family set up a GoFundMe page.

“When she is stable enough to survive the surgeries, she will have both of her arms amputated and the doctors told us to be prepared for one of her legs to be amputated. She has had compartmental surgery on both of her arms and both of her legs. She is sliced open from head to toe.”

They added, “At best, she will have multiple surgeries and multiple amputations. They will be life-altering. But, whatever she faces, we, her family, will support her as best we can, but, both now and over the long term, we will need help from all her friends, our friends and all loving and generous strangers. Please do what you can to help us help Anna.”

anna norquist with family
Anna Norquist with her family in a file photo. (Anna Norquist (PLEASE SHARE)/GoFundMe)

Toxic Shock Syndrome

According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library, the syndrome ” is a cluster of symptoms that involve many systems of the body.”

“Certain bacterial infections release toxins into the blood stream, which then spreads the toxins to body organs. This can cause severe damage and illness,” it added.

Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Clostridium sordellii are bacteria that commonly cause the syndrome. In Norquist’s case, the syndrome likely occurred as a secondary infection to streptococcus.

Symptoms for toxic shock syndrome include a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, chills, fatigue, a red, flat rash over much of the body, vomiting, muscle pain, decreased urine output, dangerously low blood pressure, bleeding problems, lethargy, and flu-like symptoms.

From NTD News

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