CHICAGO (CBS) — In a matter of days, an Indiana woman went from being a healthy 30-year-old gymnast to lying in a hospital bed with several limbs amputated and a devastating diagnosis: toxic shock syndrome.
Her father says her nightmare began after she left from visiting a Chicago concert.
“She`s a beautiful person, she has a fighting spirit,” said Gordon Norquist, father to Anna Norquist.
Anna Norquist is in the battle of her life. The 30-year-old former gymnast remains in the intensive care unit at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis after contracting toxic shock syndrome.
“None of the doctors expected her to survive and she is remarkably,” her father said.
Anna began feeling sick at the beginning of the month, and after only a few days, her symptoms rapidly got worse.
“She was in Chicago on a Friday went to a concert stayed through Saturday drove home Sunday didn`t feel well,” he said. “Thought she was getting flu-like symptoms then by Monday she was fighting for her life.”
Doctors believe Anna’s infection may have been caused by streptococcus-a, the same bacteria that causes strep throat.
“They don`t know and probably will never know exactly where they infection entered,” her father said. “They think it was the right arm and that`s probably why they took it first.”
The former gymnast has had 10 surgeries, including having her right arm and left leg amputated. Doctors warn her family there is more.
“The right foot will follow shortly behind that and ultimately her left arm,” her dad said.
Each surgery poses a risk to Anna’s life. But each time she survives a procedure, her family is reminded of her strength.
“Anna is a very dynamic personality. She`s very strong. She will let you know what she`s thinking,” Gordon said. “This is going to be a shock for her and a real adjustment, but we have a lot of support.”
Anna’s dad said he’s thankful they decided to take her to the hospital. He says he hopes his daughter`s journey can help someone else.
“Seconds are critical,” he said. “Don`t take anything for granted. If you’re not sure, make sure you find somebody, get some information so that you are sure what’s going on.”
Anna is expected to be in the hospital several more months and will undergo rehab.
Toxic shock syndrome is usually associated with tampon use, but it can affect anyone including men and children. Risk factors include skin wounds and surgery.