New mother has hands and feet amputated after birth complication

Lindsey Hubley and fiance Mike Sampson with baby Myles.
Lindsey Hubley and fiance Mike Sampson with baby Myles. Photo: Go Fund Me

A new mother is suing a Canadian hospital after she contracted a flesh-eating bacteria post birth, which resulted in the loss of her hands and feet.

Lindsey Hubley of Halifax, Nova Scotia, was diagnosed with necrotising fasciitis just days after her son Myles was born in March 2017, reports Cosmopolitan. 

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, necrotising fasciitis is a serious, life-threatening, bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly and kills the body's soft tissue. While rare, it generally occurs when bacteria enter the body through a break in the skin, such as cuts, scrapes, burns or insect bites.

Ms Hubley believes she developed the infection because doctors left part of her placenta in her body after her son's birth, and didn't properly repair a vaginal tear, her lawyer, Ray Wagner told PEOPLE. Ms Hubley and her fiance Mike Sampson are also alleging that the 33-year-old was not examined properly when she presented to hospital complaining of stomach pains, only to be told she was constipated. 

The pair are now taking legal action against the IWK Health Centre.

"They didn't properly examine her." Wagner said of the doctors who treated Ms Hubley. "If they had done that, our contention is, her injuries would not have been as significant as they are. She may have still had some issues, but they wouldn't be anywhere as close to where they are now." Along with having her hands and feet amputated, the mum also underwent a hysterectomy as well as several surgeries to remove infected tissue from her abdomen, rectum, and vagina

Ms Hubley told Cosmopolitan that the day after being turned away from hospital, where she was prescribed prune juice and offered an enema, she lay down and was unable to get back up. By this stage, her feet were turning yellow, while her legs and forearms were a "bluish, grayish colour". Rushed to hospital, Ms Hubley was placed in an induced coma, only learning of her condition when she woke two weeks later.

In May, the new mum had her hands amputated, describing that she was "happy when the time came" as she could no longer move them. "They'd become shrivelled and mummified, which is to say the tissue had died," Ms Hubley said, adding that her hands were "a gruesome reminder" of what her body had been through.

In June, she was told her feet would need to be amputated, too.

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"Going into surgery, I didn't know whether surgeons would be able to save my knees, which would enable me to use prosthetics to stand up and sit down without assistance," she said. "When I woke up from surgery, I was thankful to find both joints intact."

Initially on heavy pain medication and still in shock, Ms Hubley explained that she has only recently been able to process the gravity of what happened. "Now that I'm more healthy and less dependent on narcotics and pain medication, I've been more able both to grieve and come to terms with my new reality," she said. "For instance, while I looked forward to being able to hold, feed, and cuddle my own child with my own two hands, I won't be able to — and that's been the most difficult part.

"It's been very hard to accept that this is who I am now."

As she faces lengthy rehabilitation, Ms Hubley's family are seeking answers around exactly how she contracted the infection, as well as damages to cover the costs of her prosthetics. A Go Fund Me account has also been established on their behalf, and has already raised almost $100,000.

"She has a long journey ahead of her that will include more surgeries, months of rehabilitation, and adjusting to a new way of life for her, Mike, and sweet Myles," the page reads. "Lindsey and Mike will face many unexpected costs associated with her recovery and we hope to raise whatever we can to help this new family of three make the healing journey that they are about to embark on a tiny bit easier."

In rehab, Ms Hubley will learn how to change her little boy's nappies, feed him, play with him "and keep him safe".  But she'll also learn to walk - specifically so she can walk down the aisle to marry her fiance, whom she calls her "rock".

"What we've been through has made our relationship so much stronger," she said. "He's been my rock, and I've been his."

The new mum is drawing on her own strength, too. "I'm told amputees need to be extra strong to get around using prosthetics. When I get there, I think I'll be the strongest I've ever been."

IWK Health Center has not commented publicly on the case.

In Australia, there are around 400 incidences of Necrotising fasciitis - also known as gas gangrene - diagnosed every year, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

You can make a donation to the family's Go Fund Me page here.