My bra scratched my boob – then I ended up in a coma fighting for my life | The Sun

A WOMAN was left in an eight-day coma after a deadly flesh-eating bug attacked her boob – possibly caused by a scratch from her bra.

Sylvia Halcrow believes the metal in her underwire triggered an injury which developed into the dangerous bacterial infection necrotising fasciitis.

After attending her local GP and being given painkillers, the civil servant rushed herself A&E when her condition deteriorated.

Doctors did days of tests on an abscess on her right breast.

She was eventually diagnosed with the disease, and told her organs had started shutting down, she said.

The 53-year-old had surgery and woke from an induced coma eight days later with some of her breast removed and a 15-inch scar running from her ribs to under her arm.


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Sylvia, from Lerwick in Shetland, Scotland, said: ''I came very close to not surviving it at all so I'm very grateful indeed.

''It's scary to think this was caused by my bra.

''I've swapped to a different style now without underwiring just in case.

''It's hard having so much of my breast removed, it doesn't always look very nice, especially in summer dresses.

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''But the main thing is that I'm alive and here to tell the tale.''

Sylvia's ordeal began in May 2022 when she noticed a lump on her bosom, which quickly turned into a ''painful abscess''.

Over the following few days, it became more excruciating, despite her taking a prescription antibiotic from her doctor.

"I was in so much pain," she said.

''I just knew something wasn't right and so I took myself to A&E.

''When I walked in the nurse looked at me and rushed me straight though.

''I was totally grey in the face. It was really scary."

Sylvia claims she was "pumped full of medicine and pain relief" but nothing was helping.


''The doctors were stumped for a few days, I didn't know what was going to happen," she added.

After two days in Gilbert Bain Hospital, Sylvia was prepped for surgery to remove the abscess at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

''They put me into an induced coma, and I had two operations to remove the flesh-eating bug while I was out cold,'' she said.

''Looking back, I'm actually glad I was unconscious as I think I'd have been really traumatised.

''I was medically quite stable when I came out of my coma, although emotionally I was hugely disorientated.''

After three more weeks in hospital, Sylvia was finally allowed home. She returned to work four months later.

She has since raised £2,000 for the Lee Spark foundation, a necrotising fasciitis charity.

Sylvia said: ''I don't always feel my best now in certain clothes as there's a lot of boob missing. Things don't hang quite right.

''But I'm so glad I'm alive after nearly not making it. I force myself to think positively.

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''I've totally chucked bras with underwire. Although we don't know for sure, I'm certain that's what caused this whole thing.

''It's just not worth the risk.''

What is necrotising fasciitis?

NECROTISING fasciitis is a flesh-eating disease that happens if a wound gets infected.

It’s rare, and needs to be treated in hospital straight away.

The first signs of the illness are:

  • Intense pain or loss of feeling near to a cut or wound – the pain may seem much worse than you would usually expect from a cut or wound
  • Swelling of the skin around the affected area
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature, headache and tiredness

Later symptoms may include:

  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Confusion
  • Black, purple or grey blotches and blisters on the skin (these may be less obvious on black or brown skin)

You should go to A&E or call 999 if you have a cut which is more painful than expected, you have a wound and symptoms like a temperature or headache, you suddenly feel confused, or you have black, purple or grey blotches near a cut or wound.

Necrotising fasciitis gets worse quickly and can be fatal.

Treatments usually include antibiotics and surgery to remove the infected area.

Source: NHS

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