A Pitt Meadows mom who is set to lose both her hands and feet after a devastating strep infection was visited by another victim of the same illness on Sunday.
Moses Chan, a single dad, thought he had a bad flu in 2012. He went to the hospital and ended up in a coma in the ICU. When he woke up 10 days later, his hands and feet were black. His lungs and kidneys were also failing.
He ended up spending seven months in the hospital and had to get both hands and feet amputated.
“I had to learn how to walk again,” Chan told Danielle Linfoot, a mother of two, at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on Sunday.
Linfoot has an extremely similar case. At first she thought she’d come down with a bad case of the flu, but after three days, she became critically ill and was rushed to hospital with barely a heartbeat. She was put on life support and given a 50/50 chance to live.
Both Linfoot and Chan had a Streptococcus A infection that ultimately killed the tissue in their hands and feet. In many cases like these, damage is caused by patients going into septic shock — the body’s response to a severe infection that begins to shut down organs and create blood clots, eventually cutting off blood supply from the extremities — according to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).
“They first amputated my two feet. About three weeks later, they amputated my hands,” Chan said.
For Linfoot, she is most worried about losing her hands.
“I can learn how to manage with my legs. It’s the hands and losing the independence — that’s a big thing for me. But I’ll adapt, I guess,” Linfoot said.
Chan has been fitted with one electric hand — which looks just like a human hand — and a prosthetic hook. He would have gotten two electric hands, but they were too expensive. He says it costs thousands of dollars a year just to maintain the one.
But with the prosthetics, he’s able to do many common tasks, and even drive.
“At first, I thought I would be staying in bed for the rest of my life. I thought that people were going to have to feed me and take me to the bathroom,” Chan told Linfoot.
“That’s how I feel right now,” Linfoot replied.
Chan told Linfoot she would soon learn how to accept her “new normal.” At that point, Linfoot began to cry.
“I know I’ll get through it,” she said.
For Linfoot, the meeting with Chan was a chance to meet someone who’s gone through the same thing. While she hasn’t yet had her limbs amputated, it will happen in the coming weeks.
“It is what it is. Like he said, my new normal.”
But she’s determined to get through this next phase of her life, knowing she’s lucky to be alive at all.
WATCH: A community is rallying around a Pitt Meadows mother and her family ever since she contracted a horrific illness. Julia Foy has her story. And a warning the following story includes disturbing images and may not be suitable for all viewers.
Friends of the family have set up a GoFundMe page in the hopes of raising money to support the family in the coming months.
According to the CDC, sepsis is most commonly associated with infections of the lungs, urinary tract, skin and gut. It’s also a common result of contracting a staph, E.coli or strep infection.
Symptoms are fever, fast heart rate, pain or discomfort, shortness of breath and an altered mental status.