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Strep Throat Led to Quadruple Amputation for Teen

    Timely diagnosis and treatment are crucial in healthcare. In Natalya “Nat” Manhertz’s case, what was initially thought of as migraine turned out to be strep throat. But by the time she got a proper diagnosis, her condition had already progressed to be much worse.

     Teen had quadruple amputation after strep throat led to sepsis.

    In May 2023, Nat began experiencing sore throat and fever, leading her to take a sick day from school. Feeling slightly better, she returned to school the next day. But as the day went on, her symptoms worsened, prompting her mother to pick her up. Nat and her mother visited urgent care for pain in the neck and stomach and a headache, where doctors diagnosed her with a migraine.

    However, her condition continued to worsen, leading to a diagnosis of strep throat and organ failure at the emergency room. As Nat experienced cardiac arrest and went into septic shock, she was placed on the ECMO machine. After a week, she was weaned off the machine but faced severe tissue damage in her limbs from sepsis. This led to the decision for quadruple amputation.

    Septic shock and amputation

    Sepsis is the body’s extreme reaction to bacterial and viral infections. But without prompt treatment, sepsis can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and even death. In an interview with, Nat said she “wasn’t sad or mad or happy” about the amputation but knew the procedure had to be done. She concluded, “It’s either amputation or dying, and I’m thankful that God spared my life."

    While the exact cause of Nat’s strep throat progressing to sepsis remains uncertain, doctors believe it may have been due to a throat injury allowing bacteria into the bloodstream. Treatment involves antibiotics, fluids, and maintaining blood pressure stability to prevent severe complications like septic shock and organ dysfunction.

    Nat’s condition required ECMO support to aid her lungs and heart until her body could recover. Despite the healthy state of her veins and arteries, Nat’s capillary beds in her limbs failed, leading to tissue death and subsequent amputations.

    Doctors severed her arms about mid-forearm; one leg was amputated slightly below the knee while the other was a bit above the knee. Despite the challenges, Nat’s doctor told that Nat remained resilient, embracing her journey forward with determination.

    Moving forward            

    Following the quadruple amputation, Nat experienced phantom limb pain in her legs. Dr. Vipin Bansal, a pediatric anesthesiologist, implanted a nerve stimulator to alleviate her discomfort. The nerve stimulator has been working well so far, and Nat is off her pain medication.

    After being discharged from the hospital, Nat returned to school and is on track to graduate. She’s looking at colleges to pursue her dreams of becoming a sports broadcaster while waiting for her prosthetic devices. She shared that she’s excited to use them.

    Despite ongoing adjustments and challenges, Nat remains hopeful and grateful for the support of her loved ones and her faith.