Valley woman continues recovery from rare flesh-eating bacteria infection

Posted at 6:04 PM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 23:30:12-04

It's been a long road for one Valley mother and teacher recovering from a flesh-eating bacteria infection.

"Today I'm hopeful, hearing Dr. Foster say that in a couple of weeks I'll get to go home," said Christin Lipinski.

About a month ago Lipinski woke up from a coma, not knowing for weeks why she was in the hospital until finally learning that a flesh-eating bacteria ate away nearly 30% of her flesh.

Doctors say the infection is almost always fatal.

"It's been me wanting to fight and get better and be home. I have three beautiful children and a wonderful husband to be home for, and I'm not going anywhere," Lipinski said.

Necrotizing Fasciitis, more commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria, is a very rare type of bacteria.

"You're many, many, many thousands of times more likely to get the flu this year than to ever get Necrotizing Fasciitis once in your lifetime," said Dr. Frank Lovecchio with Banner Health.

Doctors believe this specific strain, caused by a bacteria commonly found living on all human bodies, was an aggressive strain that entered her body through a cut under her left arm.

Doctors say they used an experimental procedure known as ReCell, a type of skin spray, to help her heal quickly. It's currently being used by doctors at the Arizona Burn Center.

"We've used it on a number of burn patients, but this is the first time it's been used on a Necrotizing Fasciitis patient in this way in the United States, as far as we're aware, and possibly in the world," said Dr. Kevin Foster, a surgeon with the Arizona Burn Center.

According to ReCell's maker, Avita Medicals, it collects small samples of a patients skin and uses it to regenerate wounds.

"When being the grafting and how well that's taking and the ReCell taking effect it's just, it's beautiful, it really is. I just look at the scars healing so fast, it's just miraculous," Lipinski said.

With one more procedure to go, Lipinski is only a few weeks away from finally being able to go home to her family.