Mum has nose, lips, hands and feet amputated after mongoose bite causes sepsis


A mum endured 66 surgeries and four amputations after a mongoose bit her hand and left her fighting sepsis that nearly took her life.

Shaninlea ‘Shan’ Visser has shared the horrifying ordeal she went through after she contracted the life-threatening condition following a mongoose bite in January 2017.

The South African mum was bitten between her finger and thumb when she was at her former boss’s home.

At first, Shan didn’t think much of the bite – until she collapsed two days later.

Her vital organs started to shut down as the sepsis started to attack her body, sending her into shock.

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The 36-year-old said: “My ex-boss rushed me to hospital as I was in excruciating pain with my hands and feet it felt as if they were on fire.”

Shan’s family – including her young daughter Kiara – were told her chances of survival were slim and she was put into an induced coma for 11 days as doctors battled to save her life.

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that happens when the body tries to fight off an infection, but overreacts and starts attacking the body's organs.

The doctors were forced to amputate both her legs below the knee, both arms below the elbow and her nose and lips.

Shan then underwent operations to reconstruct her jaw and lips.

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She said: “My lips were reconstructed from my thigh by placing a tissue expander under the skin and over a few weeks I had to have saline injected into this bag to stretch the skin.”

“To date, I’ve had 66 operations and my nose has been reconstructed from a skin graft from my thigh and rib bone.

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“This was first constructed on mu forehead until there was enough blood supply to ‘swing’ it round and place it where her nose should be.”

On her incredible survival, Shan added: “I want people to be aware of what sepsis can cause – life is too short, take the bull by the horns and go for it.”

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