26-Year-Old Ignores 'Annoying' Sore Throat for Weeks, Costs Her 4 Fingers, 2 Toes, Nearly Her Life


Tennessee woman Shelby Smith, 26, had been feeling an annoying tickle in the back of her throat for weeks.

She ignored it, assuming it would just go away eventually. But soon, that decision would prove to be a costly one.

Suddenly she started shaking uncontrollably and her skin began to change color.

“I started shaking and convulsing and my lips started turning blue and my eyes were rolling in the back of my head,” Smith said. She had no idea her sore throat was taking a deadly turn.

“Little did I know I was going into septic shock,” she explained.

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Smith was rushed to the hospital and was quickly put into a medically induced coma.

Doctors discovered that she had a rare, extremely aggressive form of the strep throat bacteria.

The particular bacteria is difficult to detect, but even more challenging to treat.

For an entire week, doctors worked to stop and treat the infection before it was too late.

The treatment came in the form of a medicine that redirected Smith’s blood flow to her organs.

However, more blood going to her organs meant less blood going to her extremities.

By the time she came out of the coma, many of her fingers and toes had turned black. The medicine caused Smith to lose two toes on her left foot and parts of four fingers on her right hand.

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Even though she’s lost quite a few fingers and toes, Smith is simply thankful to still be alive.

“Still in my mind I didn’t think I was as sick as I really was,” she said.

She is learning to adjust to life without them, and has learned a valuable lesson.

“I either buckle under the pressure or I can pick myself up and make a new normal,” she said.

Unfortunately, Smith’s family did not have insurance, but said they would start a crowdfunding page to help cover the increasing medical costs.

Just remember: when it comes to your health, it’s always best to be cautious than careless. No symptom is too small, and talking to your doctor about it may just save your life — and even your limbs.

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Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
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