Maria Owens

My story began on October 31, 2001, when I delivered a healthy baby girl by C-Section. The doctors said all was well when they sent me home 1 1/2 days later. They couldn't have been more wrong. A few days later, with my staples still in tact, I started running a fever and felt ill. Being the middle of the night I thought I should call my OB's office and find out what I should do. To my surprise doctors don't follow their own orders. I was told upon release from the hospital just days earlier that if I started running a temp to call right away and a doctor would meet me at the ER. That wasn't what happened. I was told that the doctor wasn't leaving his home in the middle of the night regardless of the fact that I just had a C-Section and that I would have to wait until the office opened the next morning. The next morning I went in and saw my doctor and explained what was going on just to be told that I had a slight infection at the surgical site. I was given antibiotics and sent home with more instructions to clean the area the next morning and to return if there was any problems. The next day alone at home with my now seven day old baby, I cleaned the area only to have it burst open and leak infection all over the bathroom. I was in a panic state now. Scared and alone I called the doctor who told me to immediately return to his office. Upon my arrival I was then rushed over to the hospitals Burn and Wound Unit for further assessment. Once the doctors at the burn unit came into my room they immediately told nurses to contact my husband in fear I wasn't going to survive. I was BLACK from the top of my pelvic bone to just under my belly button on the inside. No obvious signs of this terrible disease on the outside other than a little redness. My husband was brought into my room while I was torn open to look at how bad this disease had spread. He was immediately rushed out of my room leaving me more afraid than ever now. I was then rushed to the Hyperbaric Chamber for an hour session of therapy and then straight into the O.R. for surgery. This happened over and over for the next 12 days. On day 18 my abdomen was finally closed and on day 21 I was finally allowed to see my baby. I went home the next day to alot of pain and recovery. I became addicted to Morphine while hospitalized and unable to hold my daughter on my own. I couldn't eat or function on my own. I came home with two drainage tubes and over 300 stitches just above my pelvic bone. All of the tissue beneath my belly button had to be removed and the skin cut away. I was left with scars from one side of my abdomen to the other. Jokingly the doctor said I had a partial tummy tuck from the surgery. To this day I have minimal feeling to this area. I still have pain when anything touches this area even slightly. Later I was told that this was a freak incident that couldn't have been avoided. But, I also had no legal recourse for what happened to me. Almost five years later I am pregnant again and scared to death that this will happen to me again. More people including doctors should be aware that this is not a disease to just wait and see about. It does kill people and it does destroy lives. And for the people who do survive there is always fear of it repeating itself. It is like being tortured everyday. The feelings don't go away and they don't get any better either. You just keep going with the knowledge that you survived something that should have killed you. And you are thankful for that and all the other blessings in your life. Thanks for listening to my story. I hope more people learn from all the stories and things finally change before its too late for others.