New mom battles flesh-eating disease: ‘It was eating at my insides’ – New York Post

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New mom battles flesh-eating disease: ‘It was eating at my insides’ – New York Post

Krista Parise created a life this summer — but she almost lost her own to a rare flesh-eating disease.

The Staten Island native gave birth to baby Sal on Monday, June 3, after undergoing an emergency C-section due to a slight fever. By the weekend, she was fighting for her life after being diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, which feeds on the body’s soft tissues.

“If I had waited longer I wouldn’t be here with my son,” Parise, 32, told The Post. “It was really scary and sad, but I’m just lucky I’m here.”

But her health seemed fine when she brought her baby boy home to start life as a first-time mom. She was discharged two days after Sal’s induced birth at Mount Sinai West in Manhattan. Three days later, her fever had spiked to 102 degrees F, and she was in excruciating pain.

“My lower stomach was really red and hot. It felt like I was on fire, almost,” Parise, who now lives in Rockland County, shared in a harrowing account with Jam Press. “My mom was helping me with the baby at the time. [She] had a C-section before — and she knew it wasn’t normal.”

Mount Sinai reps said they were “unable to confirm any type of patient information” when The Post reached out Friday.

The following Monday, Parise’s doctor prescribed pain meds over the phone. As two days passed, her skin became too tender to touch. “On Thursday, I couldn’t even walk,” she said. “I was laying in bed while my mom babysat my kid.”

Krista Parise with newborn Sal.
Krista Parise with newborn SalJam Press

When a cousin mentioned how she once experienced discomfort after finding out she was allergic to surgical tape, Parise decided to inspect the area near her incision for rashes or bumps. To her horror, she felt blisters all across her abdomen.

“I took a selfie of it — and I had all big puss bubbles all along my lower stomach,” she said. “I freaked out and called my mom and boyfriend.”

They rushed her to the ER, where Parise was met with a horrible smell.

At first, she thought it was “homeless people in the emergency room — but looking down, I realized the smell was coming from me. There was so much puss and dead flesh oozing out of me. I was shocked.”

Nurses moved her into an isolation to “drain the puss” and take cultures to analyze what was causing the abscesses. She was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis — and her condition was so severe the bacteria had already eaten away the soft tissue holding her intestines.

“A day later I could have died — it was eating at my insides,” Parise said.

Also known as “flesh-eating disease,” the difficult-to-diagnose illness — caused when strep bacteria enters the body through a break in the skin — can lead to sepsis, shock and organ failure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Parise with her
Parise with her “amazing” 3-month-old, SalJam Press

Necrotizing fasciitis spreads quickly and can result in lifelong complications from loss of limbs or severe scarring due to surgically removing infected tissue, the CDC reports. Even with treatment, one in three people die from the infection.

Parise said her nightmare health scare was made even worse by the fact that her newborn was home waiting for her. After surgery, she remained in the hospital — in isolation — for two weeks fighting off the infection with high doses of antibiotics.

“As a new mother, my whole plan changed,” she said. “I couldn’t breastfeed him because of all the meds I was on.”

She said she fell into a depression over missed bonding time.

“I couldn’t see my son because he was too little to come to the hospital with all the germs and everything,” said Parise, who works as a manager at a Mercedes dealership.

“It’s supposed to be this really happy exciting time, then all of a sudden everything around that is sad and scary.”

Today, she is “better, but not 100%. My wound is still open, and it got infected again, so I had to take antibiotics. I have a nurse coming twice a week, and my boyfriend had to learn how to change my wound dressing.”

She can “drive, walk and hold the baby now,” but her immune system is still compromised and she requires ongoing hernia scans. Her family has started a GoFundMe page to help cover her mounting medical debt.

“The bills right now for the surgeon who saved my life is $23,000; my insurance company wanted to only pay $315 of that. We’re still disputing it so hopefully things might change.”

Parise now urges other new moms to pay attention to their bodies after giving birth.

“When you have a C-section, you are under so much pressure to bounce back. In two days, I thought that I was fine, back to cooking and chores. I thought I didn’t need help. But if you don’t feel good, you should go to the emergency room. Had I just went to my doc’s office, and if they took my white blood cell count, they would have seen that something was very wrong.”

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