A grandmother has endured a five-year battle with a flesh-eating bug that has left a giant hole in her abdomen.
Jenny Baker, 49, from Tunbridge Wells, claims her stomach became infected with extended spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) from dirty hospital equipment during a stay for a bad back.
Despite undergoing 50 operations to try and repair the damage to her stomach, every procedure has been unsuccessful, causing her rotting organ to repeatedly tear open.
The grandmother-of-two is now confined to a wheelchair and requires regular blood transfusions every time her stomach rips.
Ms Baker said: ‘I’m in a horrible situation. My entire life has been put on hold. I am nowhere near the person I once was.’
Despite being told by doctors it may be best to just leave the infection alone, Ms Baker refuses to give up and hopes an upcoming operation at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, will relieve her suffering for good.
Ms Baker’s friends are fundraising to help her enjoy her life despite her condition.
Jenny Baker has endured a five-year battle with a flesh-eating bug that has a left a hole in her abdomen (pictured before, believed to be with her husband Shaun and grandson Joe, six)
Ms Baker claims her stomach became infected with extended spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) caught from dirty hospital equipment during a stay for a bad back
Despite undergoing 50 operations to try and repair the damage to her stomach, every procedure has been unsuccessful, causing her rotting organ to repeatedly tear open
‘The infection has caused my stomach to turn black’
Speaking of her discomfort, Ms Baker said: ‘The condition has left me with so much pain it is sometimes unbearable.
‘I cannot leave my house without a wheelchair and I can’t ever go far from the hospital in case I suffer a large bleed and need another blood transfusion.
‘Losing lots of blood also makes me feel very weak.
‘The infection has caused my stomach to turn black at times with the bleeding.It leaves me feeling really down and in a lot of pain.
‘Fortunately I am still here though. I was able to see my granddaughter Shakira and hold her, which felt really special.
She added: ‘After two years when the infection was not clearing up, I was told by doctors I would be more comfortable if they stopped trying to operate and if I had palliative care.
‘But I was not ready to give up the fight. No matter how many operations it takes I want to get better. I want them to get it right. I made the right call to fight on.’
She believes she caught the infection from cannulas used to administer blood thinners
Although confined to a wheelchair, Ms Baker is happy she has held her granddaughter Shakira
Her condition made her miss out on being her daughter Amanda’s (pictured) birthday partner
‘There was a real chance I could die’
Ms Baker’s ordeal began when she was helping her husband Shaun move a chest of drawers down the stairs, which caused her to slip and crack a vertebra in her back.
While receiving treatment in hospital, Ms Baker was given blood thinners in an attempt to avoid deep vein thrombosis.
She believes her ESBLs infection came from the equipment used to administer the medication.
Ms Baker said: ‘The infections were in the same place that the cannulas for the blood thinners were used, so I’m sure that’s where it came from.
‘It was after 10 days that it became apparent something was wrong.
‘My arm went red and began to swell and then, when one of the health visitors came to see me after my operation, they could not find any blood pressure.
‘Ten days after I was released from hospital I was taken back in an ambulance and ended up in intensive care because of the infection.
She said: ‘My husband told me for a few days I was not making much sense when I spoke to him. I was in an induced coma for two weeks.
‘There was a real chance I could die. It was extremely scary for my family.’
Although treatment managed to clear the infection from Ms Baker’s arm, it remains in her stomach.
The infection started in Ms Baker’s arm, where it was later cleared with treatment
Ms Baker claims the infection began in the same place where the cannulas were fitted
She can never go far from hospital in case her stomach rips and she needs a blood transfusion
Ms Baker claims the bleeding can be so severe it causes her abdomen to turn black
‘It’s horrible how it has affected my life’
Five years on from the initial infection and hundreds of hospital visits later, Ms Baker is still struggling to come to terms with what happened.
She said: ‘It’s horrible how it has affected my life. It’s so frustrating that I can’t run around and play with my grandchildren as I would like to.
‘I missed being my daughter Amanda’s birthing partner because I needed a transfusion.
‘Instead I am left in my wheelchair and trying to stop any bleeds that occur.
‘All I want is for the infection to be properly dealt with and for my stomach to stop tearing as easily.
‘If that happens I’ll be able to start enjoying being a gran.’
Ms Baker’s friends are fundraising to help her enjoy her life despite her condition. Donate here.