When an Ohio woman woke up from a 10-day coma, she was shocked to learn that both her legs and arms had been partially amputated—especially because the last thing she remembered was feeling sick and lying down on her couch.
“When I opened my eyes I didn’t know where I was,” Marie Trainer, who ended up spending more than 80 days in the hospital, told local news station Fox 8 Cleveland. “It was very hard to find out that they had to remove my legs and my arms…very hard to cope with.”
It all started when Marie and her husband Matthew Trainer returned from a vacation to the Caribbean. Marie started feeling nauseous and having back pain, she told Fox 8. She thought it was the flu, but then her temperature suddenly spiked and plummeted. That was the first sign that it was something more serious. “Her temperature went up then went down to about 93 degrees, that’s when we rushed her to the hospital,” Matthew told the news outlet.
At Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio, Marie underwent aggressive treatment, but her condition only worsened. Within hours, she had developed sepsis, an extreme bodily response to infection, in which inflammation throughout the body can lead to organ failure and sometimes death.
Marie was then placed into a medically-induced coma, as her limbs began to deteriorate as a result of gangrene, or dead tissue.
Finally, Marie's blood tests revealed her diagnosis: She had contracted a bacteria called capnocytophaga.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), capnocytophaga is commonly found in the mouths of dogs and cats. It can spread to humans through bites and scratches, but most people who contract it do not become sick. However, in rare cases, like Marie's, it can be life-threatening. About 30% of people who develop serious infections from capnocytophaga germs die. Some infections can even lead to death within 24 to 72 hours after symptoms start.
The Trainers have two dogs and suspect they might have licked a small cut on Marie’s arm.
The bacteria caused a number of blood clots in Marie's body, and though doctors tried to remove as many of the clots as possible, they couldn't save her limbs. Doctors told the family that had they not done the amputations, Marie would have died.
“It was so rapid in progression…there was nothing they could do,” Marie’s step-daughter, Gina Premier, who works as a nurse practitioner at the hospital, told Fox 8.
After eight surgeries, Marie is now on the road to recovery. She said she still loves her dogs and is excited to be reunited with them, although she's urging people to be careful around pets if they have a cut or scrape.
The CDC says if you've been bitten by a dog or cat, you should be sure to wash the bite area with soap and water right away. You should also call your doctor, even if you don’t feel sick. People with weakened immune systems, such as those who have conditions like cancer or diabetes, should consider talking to their doctor about how to protect themselves when coming in contact with pets.
To help with medical expenses and the cost of prosthetic limbs, Marie's family started a GoFundMe page.