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Young Ogden Mother Contracts Flesh-Eating Disease After Giving Birth

OGDEN, Utah – A young Ogden mother is recovering tonight from a mysterious disease. She became very sick after delivering her baby by C-section, and doctors fought to save her.

For a newborn, a photo is no substitute for mommy’s arms. But for the first three weeks of his life, Essence Blackhurst is in the hospital fighting for her life.

Her aunt, Arla Harris, cared for baby Eli. “We raided her dirty clothes and we kept it wrapped around him,” said Harris, who lives in Ogden.

Essence became very sick after an emergency C-section May 29th at Ogden Regional Medical Center. “I knew something was wrong,” said Blackhurst, who also lives in Ogden.

Harris said, “Running fevers, throwing up; it just seems like it never got under control.”

Blackhurst said, “It just hurt, I just felt like something was wrong, like it wasn’t supposed to feel like that.”

Harris said, “Red started migrating up her belly.”

Doctors diagnosed her with flesh-eating disease. Though rare, it can be life threatening if not treated in its early stages. 5 surgeries followed to remove the infected tissue, and they also administered antibiotics. Blackhurst was sedated for days. “I had no idea was going on, so it was scary,” she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the bacteria most commonly enters through a break in the skin, including surgical wounds. Craig Bielik, Facility Director PR and Communications, Ogden Regional Medical Center, declined our request for an interview but said in an email that they, “Consistently adhere to evidence-based guidelines for infection prevention and measure compliance.” Essence is now home recovering, with a good prognosis, and gaining strength from baby Eli.

“I know it’s that baby. She wants him so bad. I know he’s her strength right now,” Harris said.

Blackhurst said, “For sure. He’s so amazing. I love that kid.”

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