|Jackie Overbay's Survivor Story|
Hi, my name is Jackie Overbay and I am from Middlesboro, KY. I am a survivor of Necrotizing Fasciitis. Last year I had a very difficult pregnancy. I was in and out of the hospital from January until the end of March. Finally on March 30th, 2004, I went in for my doctor's appointment. He advised me that I had developed severe pre-eclampsia so he was admitting me into the hospital to induce labor. I labored for about 24 hours when my baby's vital sign began to drop. At that point my doctor took me in for an emergency c-section. My daughter was not breathing when she was born. Due to the pre-eclampsia, her umbilical cord was so clogged, she was not getting any oxygen or nutrients. They got her breathing on her own, but she developed jaundice. I was released from the hospital 2 days later on April 2, 2004. They kept her in the hospital for 6 days.
On April 4, I began running a really high fever. I thought that maybe I just had the flu. On April 5, I went to the hospital to bring my baby home. About 3 am on April 6, I woke up feeling like my stomach was on fire. I looked at my incision and it looked just fine. Up above my incision there was, (what I thought) a big purplish blood blister about the size of my fist. Later that day I went to my doctor where he admitted me right away into the hospital. He ordered a ct scan and that was negative. I was so happy because that meant I did not have to have surgery....or so I thought. A couple of hours later, my stomach opened up and infection poured out of me. The smell was the absolute worst. My doctor took me straight into surgery where he diagnosed me as having NF.
About 6 am on April 7, he sent me to the University of Tennessee hospital, knowing that they were better equipped to care for me. I was not scheduled to have another debridement on my stomach until the next day. I was in ICU all day not having a clue as to what was going on. Later that same day a resident (having never seen this infection before) came in to look. When she pulled the covers off of me, what a surprise she got. My intestines and guts had surfaced outside of me. The infection had ate most of the lining of my stomach so there was nothing there holding my insides in. The trauma surgeon that they wanted to operate on me was in another surgery at the time. He was one of the top surgeons there, so they wanted to wait. They kept my insides moist until he was available. Before he took me into surgery, he explained to my mom that he was not for sure if I would live through this and if I did make it I would then need several more debridements, physical therapy and finally plastic surgery. I had already lost so much blood and was borderline for a blood transfusion. He took me into a surgery that was supposed to last 2-3 hours.
At the exact time that I was in surgery, my oldest brother David went upstairs at his house and started praying for me. My other 2 brothers, Michael and Chris, had their churches praying for me. My church here had a lady sit in for me and they prayed over her. She told them that she felt the holy spirit come down over her and that I was healed. Not knowing any of this, my mom went to the nurses desk 45 minutes after I went into surgery and asked for an update. The nurse told my mom that the doctor was done and was looking for her. My mom just knew that I had died. The doctor told her that he would have to call this something else because NF just does not stop and there were no more signs of infection. He told her that everything was put back into place and my wound was left open. I had 6 buttons (they looked like big oversize shirt buttons) on the outside of my stomach. 3 on top of the wound and 3 on bottom. They were sewn together on the inside to hold my insides in. I was also hooked up to a wound vac to increase the healing time. That, to me, was the most painful part. They had to pull that out of the wound every other day.
The following day after the surgery, all the lab tests came back confirming that it was, indeed, NF. There is no other explanation for it. I WAS HEALED. The wound had healed so much that by April 10 the wound vac pushed itself out and they switched me to wet to dry dressings. I came home from the hospital on April 12, 2004 with no more surgeries and no physical therapy. My mom stayed every minute with me in the hospital and for about 6 weeks after I came home. She took care of me and my 2 girls. I also had home health nurses that came to my house 2 times per week, but my mom was their teacher (ha ha). My doctor told me that I would get hernia's from all of this, which I did. In October, I underwent hernia repair, where they also had to put 10 screws in my stomach. I am doing fine now.
This was a really big wake up call for me. It was the Lord telling me that I was not living my life right. When I finally came to in the hospital and they told me how close I was to dying, I knew that if I had died that I would of went straight to hell and that is no place I want to go. I was saved in May of 2004 and baptized in June of 2004.
Middlesboro, KY USA
Copyright © 1997-2003 National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation (NNFF)
All Rights Reserved.
April 16, 2005