Amputee, 30, shares graphic pictures of her blackened fingers to raise awareness for meningitis 

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Amputee, 30, shares graphic pictures of her blackened fingers to raise awareness for meningitis 

An Australian amputee has shared graphic photos of her fingers and toes turning black in a bid to raise awareness for meningococcal disease.Juttima Ch

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An Australian amputee has shared graphic photos of her fingers and toes turning black in a bid to raise awareness for meningococcal disease.

Juttima Chinnasri, 30, began suffering from flu-like symptoms like a high fever, nausea and general tiredness while at work in October 2018, but assumed it was the common cold.

The next morning she was rushed to hospital after purple spots appeared on her face, and after a week in intensive care on life support she woke up to see her fingers and feet had turned black from blood poisoning – a side effect of meningococcal meningitis.

‘The photos I have shared are quite graphic but it shows the reality of meningitis and blood poisoning,’ she said.

Juttima Chinnasri, 30, began suffering from flu-like symptoms like a high fever, nausea and weakness while at work in October 2018, but assumed it was the common cold

Juttima Chinnasri, 30, began suffering from flu-like symptoms like a high fever, nausea and weakness while at work in October 2018, but assumed it was the common cold

'The photos I have shared are quite graphic but it shows the reality of meningitis and blood poisoning,' she said

‘The photos I have shared are quite graphic but it shows the reality of meningitis and blood poisoning,’ she said

‘When I woke up and saw my black fingers and feet – I was shocked. It was terrifying and I refused to accept that I had to have them amputated for days but eventually I realised that they couldn’t be saved.’ 

Doctors had to remove her legs and fingers in order to save her life, but it was still tough to accept. 

Juttima spent three months in hospital learning to walk again and waiting for her prosthetic legs to arrive, before she was allowed to return home in January 2019.  

‘Life has changed drastically since this happened – I had to learn to do everything again from walking to picking things up to simple things like going to the bathroom by myself,’ she said.

‘I couldn’t do what I did before, you’re in the same environment but you can’t just walk anywhere. I started getting depressed, but I caught it early and started working on my mental health and it got better.’  

WHAT IS MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE?

Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that can cause death within hours if not recognised and treated in time.

There are five main strains of the infection, each of which now have a vaccine available in Australia.

Although the majority of victims will recover fully, 10% of those infected will die, and around 20% will have permanent disabilities.

If left untreated, the disease is fatal.

Amputation is not uncommon. Neither is organ failure and kidney damage, with extreme cases requiring long-term dialysis.

Babies and children up to five-years-old account for two-thirds of cases due to their less mature immune system.

Source: Meningococcal Australia 

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'When I woke up and saw my black fingers and feet - I was shocked,' she said (blackened feet pictured)

‘When I woke up and saw my black fingers and feet – I was shocked,’ she said (blackened feet pictured)

Juttima spent three months in hospital learning to walk again and waiting for her prosthetic legs to arrive, before she was allowed to return home in January 2019 (pictured before the illness)

Doctors had to remove her legs and fingers in order to save her life, but it was still tough to accept (pictured in the hospital)

Juttima spent three months in hospital learning to walk again and waiting for her prosthetic legs to arrive, before she was allowed to return home in January 2019

What were Juttima’s symptoms? 

* Cold-like symptoms with a high fever.

* Purple spots appearing on her face and neck.

* Her skin becoming very sensitive to touch.

* Vomiting and diarrhoea.

* Tiredness. 

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Juttima first started feeling unwell whilst she was working and she decided to take herself to a medical clinic.

‘The first symptom was just a high fever. I took some paracetamol because I wanted to keep on working,’ she said.

‘I went to the medical centre where they told me my temperature was 39 degrees Celsius. I was too tired to go to the doctors so I just went home and got into bed.’

Her father went in to check on her through the night and lightly touched her arm, but Juttima pulled back quickly because her skin was very sensitive.  

The next morning, she woke up to find her symptoms had worsened and she could hardly get out of bed. 

‘I woke up vomiting and with diarrhoea. After I threw up, I looked in the mirror and there were bright purple spots all over my face and I was very pale,’ she said.

‘At that point I couldn’t walk and was crawling between the bedroom and bathroom.’

'The first symptom was just a high fever. I took some paracetamol because I wanted to keep on working,' she said (pictured before the illness)

Juttima first started feeling unwell whilst she was working and she decided to take herself to the medical clinic at her workplace (pictured with her prosthetic legs)

‘The first symptom was just a high fever. I took some paracetamol because I wanted to keep on working,’ she said (pictured before and after contracting meningitis)

Juttima's fingers and feet turned black as the bacteria from her illness went into her bloodstream, which caused blood poisoning (pictured learning to walk again)

Juttima’s fingers and feet turned black as the bacteria from her illness went into her bloodstream, which caused blood poisoning (pictured learning to walk again)

Juttima’s parents drove her to the hospital where the doctors knew instantly that something was wrong. That’s when they made the decision to put her on life support.

‘I was on life support for a week and unconscious. My family told me that my fingers and feet were starting to go black during that time and when I woke up, they were fully black,’ she said.

Juttima’s extremities turned black as the bacteria from her illness went into her bloodstream, which caused blood poisoning. 

‘When I woke up, I was hoping they would be able to fix it but I knew that there was no going back,’ she said.

Relearning how to use her remaining body parts was extremely difficult and a daily challenge. 

Juttima struggles with her mental health after her prosthetic legs arrived as she had to completely learn how to walk and use her hands again. 

'I was on life support for a week and unconscious. My family told me that my fingers and feet were starting to go black during that time and when I woke up, they were fully black,' she said

‘I was on life support for a week and unconscious. My family told me that my fingers and feet were starting to go black during that time and when I woke up, they were fully black,’ she said

'When I woke up, I was hoping they would be able to fix it but I knew that there was no going back,' she said

‘When I woke up, I was hoping they would be able to fix it but I knew that there was no going back,’ she said

‘I had to relearn how to write and I still struggle with picking up little things like coins and cotton tips, even doing up the buttons on my shirt,’ she said.

‘It took longer to learn how to use my prosthetic legs – I’ve only just started to walk with no crutches so it’s taken me over a year.

‘This has changed my life but I hope to inspire other people and when I’m having a bad day, I always look back to when I was in hospital and my family were told that I might not make it and that motivates me to keep on going because I’m still here.’

Juttima has realised her life can be ‘normal’ now that she has adapted to the changes. 

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