“While I was there I got stuck on my thumb and I went ‘ouch’ but I went back to looking at my telephone,” she told the station. Her thumb began to throb and she fell so ill that she had trouble sleeping that night, she said.
Sharp went to Summit Medical Group the next day to be checked for the flu. When the flu test came back negative, nurse practitioner Nikki Brown drew a line around a spot on Sharp’s thumb that showed an unusual amount of swelling. Brown told her to monitor the spot in case the swelling got worse. Brown ordered Sharp to go to the emergency room the next day after being told over the phone that the swelling had spread up her right arm. Sharp also developed a red rash.
“She could have lost her finger or her arm if she hadn’t been diagnosed properly,” Dr. Udit Chaudhuri, an internal medicine specialist with Summit Medical Group who also treated Sharp, told WBIR.
He explained that flesh-eating disease, known medically as necrotizing fasciitis, can be contracted through an open cut or wound and “this bacteria gets introduced under the skin into the soft tissue and then into the blood stream.” He added that individuals with compromised immune systems are more likely to contract the disease. Sharp “is a diabetic so that made her more susceptible,” Chaudhuri said.
A manager at Jazzy Nail Bar told WBIR-TV that the business passed a state inspection conducted several days after Sharp reported she had been infected by flesh eating bacteria. He said the nail salon cleans its tools in compliance with state-mandated regulations. The Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners establishes sanitary rules for licensed salons across the state.
Sharp told the station she is beginning to regain feeling in her right hand after the surgeries but still has trouble flossing her teeth. “My life took a total turn when this happened to me,” she said.
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