BANGOR, Maine (CBS Connecticut) – A mother died days after giving birth to a baby girl from a rare flesh-eating infection.
According to Bangor Daily News, 29-year-old Heather Nichols was admitted to Eastern Maine Medical Center on Aug. 1 and gave birth to baby Ruby Ann 20 hours later with her husband Matt Nichols at her side. She had carried the baby through a normal pregnancy and researched everything to know about becoming a mother.
She had undergone an episiotomy, a small surgical incision that enlarges the vaginal opening to assist with childbirth. Once home, the pain and swelling worsened overnight so the first-time parents returned to the hospital the next day.
Sadly, the new mom contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a rare and quick spreading bacterial infection that’s commonly known as “flesh-eating bacteria”.
“This one just came completely out of left field,” Matt told the Bangor Daily News. “Everybody I knew had never heard of it.”
A medical doctor at the hospital said the infection only occurs in 1 in 100,000 people. It attacks and ravages muscles, fat and skin tissue and typically enters the body through a break in the skin, like a cut or scrape.
Heather’s condition quickly worsened and she had multiple surgeries to remove decaying tissue. She was flown to Boston for more surgery, but her condition continued to deteriorate.
Heather died on Aug. 8 leaving behind her husband and newborn baby girl.
The baby girl was never sickened by the infection.
“They said [Heather] fought it a lot stronger than most people do,” Matt told the Bangor Daily News. “It was the same thing with the pregnancy, there were doctors there…who said that she was one of the toughest people they’ve ever seen at giving birth.”
The now single father hopes to spread awareness of the deadly infection that killed his wife.