Last January, 46 year old Donna Corden was in her kitchen and fell, hitting her head on the oven. This caused a gash near her eye. She passed out and was discovered some time later by her 24 year old son, David Lawton. He called the doctor and her laceration was treated with butterfly strips. But the next day she became disoriented, dizzy and her face turned an alarming shade of black. Her 26 year old daughter Jayde Stammers called for an ambulance and she was rushed to the hospital. She was diagnosed by a quick thinking doctor who had had some recent training, enabling the correct diagnosis of Necrotizing Fasciitis, also known as Flesh Eating Bacteria.
The prognosis was grim for Ms. Corden, as she was rushed into surgery. Her family was told to expect the worst. The medical staff did not know if she would even survive. Surgeons removed the rotten half of her face but were unable to save her eye, despite the pleading of her daughter to do so. “Jayde apparently told doctors, “Please save my mum’s eye, ” said Ms. Corden. The doctors responded, “It’s not a case of saving her eye, it’s a case of saving her life.” As well, a section of skin from her leg was grafted onto her face.
But shortly after the surgery, she developed sepsis, a deadly blood infection, and her organs began shutting down. To save her life and her organ function, she was placed into a medically induced coma and given heavy duty antibiotics.
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Donna was discharged from the hospital on February 10th, after finally overcoming the infection. When asked about her experience, she waxed philosophical, saying, “Yes, it is difficult. I could wonder why it happened to me, but there would be no point. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe I was alive.”
Her daughter kept a diary of her mother’s journey. Upon her mother’s discharge from the hospital, Miss Stammers wrote, “So three weeks ago today we were told that we were highly likely to lose our mum. These past few weeks have been hell on earth!
But today after the rockiest of roads and as proud as punch she took her first steps into her new life! Long road ahead mum but we are with you all the way! I can’t put into words how proud of you I am!”
These days Donna Corden is going through the process of having a number of reconstructive surgeries and is hoping to help raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of Necrotizing Fasciitis.
Her positive attitude is the only thing that is contagious now. She is a great example to all of us as she bravely battles back to living a full life. She summarized her situation, saying, “I can’t change what happened. But I have a wonderful family and lovely friends. I’m lucky to be alive.’
We salute you Ms. Corden, for your extraordinary will to live and your refusal to dwell on the difficulties. May you continue to enjoy your life, your loved ones and your health. Bravo.