Efforts to improve her health ended with a 36-year-old Georgia woman fighting for her life after a botched tummy tuck operation left her with three flesh-eating bacterial infections. Laura Franks, a wedding planner from Georgia had undergone a gastric bypass in 2014, resulting in a loss of 97 pounds. But the rapid loss of weight left her with layers of loose skin that no amount of dieting would ever correct.
Ms. Franks eventually decided surgery was her only option and spent more than a year thoroughly researching online where to have the procedure done.
That’s when she began looking into abdominoplasty as a solution to her dilemma. When she discovered the cost for the operation, she was dismayed and discouraged that it was way out of her financial reach. Then, she heard about a clinic in Columbia that would perform the procedure - plus a butt lift and liposuction for “only” $5000. She thought it was a good deal and made plans to fly off to South America.
Although her boyfriend urged her not to have the operation, Ms. Franks headed to Colombia at the beginning of this year regardless. And n spite of the aesthetically-pleasing look of the clinic, Laura’s gut instincts were having doubts. In fact, she says that panic set in as she was going under anesthesia, but it happened so fast, she had no time to object.
When she awoke in the recovery room, and during the first few days of her recovery she felt surprisingly well. Then, five days after her procedure, they took off her bandages for the first time. that’s when Laura saw the dark red blotch across her abdomen, which doctors initially attributed to low oxygenation in her skin.
Soon, Laura started to feel very sick, and for a while thought she might die. She ended up having three surgeries to remove the dead and dying flesh. Then, a month after she first arrived in Colombia, Laura finally was permitted to go home. But her ordeal was not yet over.
When she returned home, she traveled to Denver, Colorado where her family lived and that’s where she finally learned the truth.
Doctors informed her that she had contracted three types of flesh-eating bacteria in her abdominal wound and would need drastic surgery to remove the dead and dying flesh. None of the antibiotics the clinic had would touch the necrotizing fasciitis, and the prognosis was not good. She had to undergo skin grafts to replace abdominal skin that had to be removed due to the infection.
Doctors in the U.S. believe the infection came from contaminated equipment at the clinic. The Daily Mail reports, “Due to the bacteria being highly drug-resistant, it seemed at first as if no treatment would be able to save her.
“Then, at the 11th hour, a specialist drug was flown in through the Centre for Disease Control.
“‘I called it my unicorn juice,' Ms. Franks said. 'It thankfully worked and my insurer picked up a lot of the costs.
“‘But, as it was so expensive and I needed a large dose, I have been left with considerable medical bills of around $10,000 (£7,571) myself.'
Now that her ordeal is largely behind her, she has some advice to share with others thinking of elective surgery:
"'I am incredibly thankful to be alive, and I really want to encourage others to love themselves as they are. I've learned the hard way that surgery won't change the way you - or anybody else - look at you. It's just not worth it."
Very wise words! We pray that Laura’s recovery continues and hope that she manages to bounce back from her horrific experience.
For a better look at Lauren's traumatic surgery experience, you can watch the video. (You must click here to view the video. Due to graphic content, no image is available.)