Single mom recovering from triple amputation brought on by rare strep throat

By on March 23, 2017


A Winnipeg woman is recovering in hospital after developing a rare type of strep throat that forced doctors to amputate both her legs and one of her arms. (Photo: Herb Neufeld/Flickr)
A Winnipeg woman is recovering in hospital after developing a rare type of strep throat that forced doctors to amputate both her legs and one of her arms. (Photo: Herb Neufeld/Flickr)

WINNIPEG—A Winnipeg woman is recovering in hospital after developing a rare type of strep throat that forced doctors to amputate both her legs and one of her arms.

Cari Kirkness, 28, thought she had come down with the flu when she went to the emergency room at Health Sciences Centre last month.

But doctors diagnosed her with Group A Strepococcus, a rare type of bacterium that can cause different infections.

Within 24 hours, Kirkness was told they needed to amputate one of her arms and a leg due to complications from the infection.

Her mother, Loretta Kirkness, says shortly after the amputations her daughter’s organs started to shut down and medical staff noticed discolouration on her other leg.

So they took it, too.

“They told us we had 15 minutes to decide if we wanted to amputate her other leg or let her go,” says Loretta Kirkness. “There was no decision there. Obviously we chose life.”

Cari Kirkness is finally on the mend, and is scheduled to begin a rehab program to teach her how to deal with her new disabilities.

“There’s no reason to feel sorry for yourself, because it won’t change.” she says. “This is it, this is the life I was given.”

However, the single mother of an 11-year-old and a two-year-old boy has many financial challenges ahead of her. She will move in with her mother when she is eventually discharged from the hospital, but right now the home is not wheelchair accessible.

Loretta Kirkness says she’ll probably have to buy a new home to accommodate the needs and her daughter and grandchildren.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the immediate financial challenges and to raise enough money for a down payment on a new home.