Woman, 60, ‘saved by baking soda’ after flesh-eating bug

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A woman who was on the brink of death after lethal bacteria began to eat away at her nose has credited baking soda for saving her life. Beatrice Johnson, 60, had a close brush with death when she fell ill with sickness and an upset stomach on December 21.

She was diagnosed with septic shock by doctors at Tunbridge Wells Hospital, Kent, who advised her family to say their final goodbyes. However, in a last-ditch effort to save her life, she revealed that medics introduced sodium bicarbonate into her IV drip as an alternative to dialysis.

The treatment proved successful and within a few days, Beatrice, who works part-time as a secretary, was “feeling miles better”. After spending 36 days in hospital, she is now back home and recuperating well with her sister.

Beatrice, from Tunbridge, said: ”I never thought something so simple would save my life. The baking soda made me rise like a cake.

”I genuinely believed I was going to die. I have no clue how I contracted sepsis, it could’ve been due to a torn ligament in my thumb.

“My family said their final goodbyes. No one thought I’d be here today. I’m thankful they never gave up on my life.”

Beatrice’s ordeal commenced on December 21, 2023, when she started to “feel generally weak”. As the day progressed, her condition worsened to the point where she struggled to climb the stairs at her home, reports Gloucestershire Live.

Recognising that something was amiss, she dialled 999 and was rushed to the hospital within 10 minutes.

Beatrice, a mother of three, recounted her harrowing experience: “As soon as I couldn’t walk upstairs, I knew something was wrong. I called 999 and when the paramedics came they couldn’t find my blood pressure. They were surprised I was still conscious.

Following her emergency admission to hospital, doctors discovered she had sepsis and she quickly went into septic shock. It was found that her kidneys were failing, necessitating immediate dialysis.

Recounting her ordeal, Beatrice said: “I lost consciousness at one point, had no idea what was happening. I was completely out of it.”

Her condition deteriorated so rapidly that life support became necessary, and her children were summoned to bid farewell. However, in a twist of fate, doctors tried using sodium bicarbonate a simple baking soda solution which is sometimes used in dire situations as an alternative to dialysis.

This unconventional treatment led to a stunning turnaround; Beatrice emerged from her coma in just a week and was soon removed from life support, feeling rejuvenated.

Beatrice expressed her astonishment at the recovery: “Within one day I was like another person. I was taken off life support after three days. I remember looking around to lots of tubes coming out of my body. I could only communicate through blinking, but I could feel I was on the mend.”

After coming round, doctors broke the news her nose had been eaten by a flesh-eating bug called necrotising fasciitis. Necrotising fasciitis is a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly and can cause death.

Doctors used antibiotics to stop the spread and although healing, her nose is still ”numb on the end”. On February 2 this year Beatrice was discharged from the hospital – 43 days after being told she was going to die.

Upon regaining consciousness, doctors informed her that a flesh-eating bug known as necrotising fasciitis had devoured her nose. Necrotising fasciitis is a rare bacterial infection that spreads rapidly and can be fatal.

She expressed: “I hate that my children had to go through something so traumatic. I’m shocked that I’m still here. My nose is healing, but I’m slowly recovering. The recovery time was incredible and I have the doctors to thank for that.”

I had three churches praying for me. I never thought baking soda would save my life.

A spokesperson from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospital said: “Treatment with sodium bicarbonate is routinely used in our ICUs.”

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