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Mum loses her arms and legs after eating undercooked fish for dinner

Gregory Robinson

Published 
| Last updated 

Mum loses her arms and legs after eating undercooked fish for dinner

Featured Image Credit: KRON 4

A mum lost all four of her limbs after eating undercooked fish for dinner.

Laura Barajas, from California, US, contracted a bacterial infection from eating undercooked tilapia in late July.

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Barajas, 40, bought the fish at a local market in San Jose before taking it home to cook, according to her friend, Anna Messina.

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On Thursday (14 September), she had to undergo life-saving amputation surgery after spending months in hospital battling the infection that almost cost her life.

“It's just been really heavy on all of us. It's terrible. This could've happened to any of us,” Messina told KRON 4.

“She almost lost her life. She was on a respirator.”

The mum-of-one was then placed in a medically induced coma after contracting sepsis.

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"Her fingers were black, her feet were black her bottom lip was black. She had complete sepsis and her kidneys were failing." Messina continued.

Barajas had four limbs amputated after being hospitalised. Credit: KRON 4
Barajas had four limbs amputated after being hospitalised. Credit: KRON 4

Medical staff said the infection was most probably caused by vibrio vulnificus, which is a bacterial infection that the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned about recently.

Around 150-200 cases of this type of infection are reported each year, and according to the CDC, around one in five people who are infected end up dying.

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And people with a compromised immune system are more at risk of the infection.

"The ways you can get infected with this bacteria are one-you can eat something that’s contaminated with it the other way is by having a cut or tattoo exposed to water in which this bug lives," Dr. Natasha Spottiswoode, a UCSF Infectious Disease expert, said.

“People should take sensible precautions like if you have a cut avoid getting immersed in water until it's well healed,” Spottiswoode added.

“If you are someone immunocompromised keeping an eye on these things and avoiding those high-risk activities and foods.”

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Messina has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for her friend’s medical expenses and ongoing health care.

Barajas underwent a life-saving operation. Credit: KRON 4
Barajas underwent a life-saving operation. Credit: KRON 4

She said: "This family is in desperate need of our help. While Jose has health benefits through his work, it remains uncertain whether they will cover Laura, his partner of eight years.

"Jose's paid time off (PTO) has been exhausted, and the Family Disability program provides only 60 percent of his normal income.

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"The mounting hospital bills are overwhelming, and Laura's physical condition will necessitate significant changes to their lives as they adapt to her new circumstance."

At the time of writing, $52,000 (£40,000) has been raised out of a target of $150,000 (£121,000) so far.

Topics: Health, Life, Real Life, US News, Food and Drink

Gregory Robinson
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