A “bright and bubbly” Tasmanian woman is fighting for her life after undergoing a routine cosmetic surgery.
Brenna McIntosh on March 23 received an abdominoplasty – better known as a tummy tuck – after naturally shedding an astounding 40kg.
Intended to simply remove excess belly skin, the surgery initially went fine until eight days later when Ms McIntosh began feeling very unwell.
It was initially thought the 29-year-old, who lives and works in Melbourne, had contracted an infection in her abdomen for which she received antibiotics in hospital.
But Ms McIntosh, who is described by her friends as having a “beautiful smile and positive vibes”, took another turn for the worse.
After she was diagnosed as septic, a plastic surgeon was brought in to assess Ms McIntosh who had become too unstable to move.
After operating again, the surgeon discovered Ms McIntosh had contracted an extremely rare bacterial infection called necrotising fasciitis or “flesh-eating bug”.
So severe was Ms McIntosh’s state that doctors placed her in an induced coma, in which she has remained at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital for the past week.
The condition is so rare that only one other case has been linked to an abdominoplasty in the world.
As the bacteria is slowed by oxygen, Ms McInstosh has been receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the same treatment that divers receive for the bends.
She also has undergone daily surgeries to clear as much dead tissue and infection from her abdomen as possible.
“Brenna will have a long recovery ahead of her, resulting in multiple months off work and loss of income,” Ms McIntosh’s friend Lauren Vanderven said.
Ms Vanderven has created a GoFundMe page for her friend to help deal with mounting medical costs and to support family members’ stay near the hospital.
“As expenses don’t stop, we would love to raise money to get her across to Tassie to her family when she is ready,” Ms Vanderven posted.
“Brenna has made so many people smile both in-person & through social media, so let’s give her a reason to smile.”