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There were three choices: death, amputation or brain damage.
After Kayleigh Ferguson-Walker lost her baby during childbirth in April, the South Florida woman was put into a two-week coma after doctors learned she had contracted the same condition that had claimed the life of her stillborn baby — sepsis, a life-threatening illness triggered by the body’s response to an infection.
In just days, Walker underwent a quadruple amputation — her arms and hands were gone, her legs cut below the knees, the Sun Sentinel reported.
The 31-year old pharmacy technician from Coral Springs had checked into the emergency room at Broward Health Coral Springs after her heart began to race, she began to vomit and got severe chills while she was six months pregnant. Her organs began to fail, her vision began to blur and her blood pressure plummeted.
When doctors couldn’t detect the fetus’ heartbeat, they prescribed Pitocin to induce contractions. Shortly after, the baby was born stillborn.
It wasn’t long before hospital physicians realized that the same illness that took the life of her child, sepsis, was now attacking the mother.
With sepsis, the immune system tries to protect the infected body, releasing chemicals that can lead to organ failure. At the same time, the body pulls blood from the extremities to try to protect the vital organs, leaving the arms and legs to wither.
Experts told The Sentinel that Walker had likely contracted the infection because of a rare condition known as an incompetent cervix. Pressure from the growing baby may have caused the cervical tissue to open prematurely.
On Saturday, in a bright yellow dress, Walker returned to church for the first time since losing her limbs.
From a wheelchair, she addressed the congregation.
“Today I’m just amazed to be here, to be able to talk, to see, to praise God,” she said.