We seldom consider or predict how a small thing – like a bump on the head – could evolve to become something that totally changes our lives. Well it happened to Donna Corden of Leeds in the United Kingdom. The mother of three accidentally bumped her head on the oven at home. It wasn’t a light tap though, she actually knocked herself out from the force. And when she came to, she had a cut above her eye. But less than 24 hours later, her face had turned a shade of black that was terrifying her and her family. She was rushed to the hospital where doctors quickly diagnosed her with necrotizing fasciitis caused by a flesh-eating bug. Yes, this mother of three would never look the same again and it all happened because she bumped her head on the oven.
Surgeons got to work fast. And they had to cut away some of the rotten flesh if they hoped to keep Donna Corden alive. The mother was going to lose her beautiful face in order to save her life.
Despite the surgery, Corden went into organ failure after developing sepsis. And she was placed into a medically induced coma so she could be loaded up with antibiotics and beat this thing.
Since she got the flesh-eating bug, Corden has been in recovery. Her skin was grafted from other parts of her body including her lower limbs and onto her face. And despite the horror, she has decided to speak for the first time – and the first thing she expresses is her gratitude at being alive.
“’I’m alive. It could be worse. Yes, it is difficult. I could wonder why it happened to me, but there would be no point. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe I was alive.”
She hit her head on the oven after her legs lost balance because of her arthritis. She is currently on sick leave with all the horror that has since unfolded.
Her 24-year-old son David Lawton discovered Corden knocked out on the floor a while later.
“I had a nasty cut and there was blood everywhere. I didn’t want to go to hospital, so David called a doctor and butterfly strips were put across the cut.”
The next day her 26-year-old daughter Jayde Stammers called for an ambulance because Corden’s face had turned black and she was dizzy.
She went into the hospital and because a student doctor had learned about flesh-eating bugs recently, he was able to flag it as a possibility immediately. But they sent her into surgery and had to get serious.
“Jayde apparently told doctors, “Please save my mum’s eye”. But they said, “It’s not a case of saving her eye, it’s a case of saving her life”.”
After she came out of the coma, Corden updated the world via Facebook. Her announcements are gut-wrenchingly painful – like this one from March:
“May not be a big thing to some but I must say I am extremely proud of mum, we have just come back from doing the school run! She stood there on the playground and chatted with loads of different people and told them all about what has happened and what is to happen in the next few months! I am so, so proud mum, massive step today, well done.”
She is now recovered and hoping to help protect others from the same fate.
“I can’t change what happened. But I have a wonderful family and lovely friends. I’m lucky to be alive.”