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* Beauty queen's amputation is rare complication of septicemia

January 23, 2009 | 10:05 am


* Update: Mariana Bridi da Costa died on Jan. 24.

A Brazilian beauty queen underwent amputation of her hands and feet earlier this week, a rare and tragic consequence of a common infection.

The woman, Mariana Bridi da Costa, 20, was diagnosed with a bacterial infection that progressed to septicemia. Septicemia, which is also called bacteremia or sepsis, occurs when bacteria gets into the bloodstream. The illness is always serious and can become life-threatening very quickly. Septicemia can arise from any infection in the body, such as in the lungs, abdomen and urinary tract. News reports describe Bridi's case as a urinary tract infection caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This type of bacteria is usually contracted in the hospital.

Once bacteria enters the bloodstream, infection can wreak havoc. The patient often appears to have a severe case of the flu, according to information from the National Institutes of Health. A high fever, chills, rapid heart rate and rapid breathing are common. The patient can go into shock if not treated quickly, and the death rate can be as high as 50% depending on the type of bacteria. Patients are treated with antibiotics, fluids, blood pressure medication and sometimes blood products to prevent clotting.

Amputations of limbs are rare and most often occur in children and young people with septicemia because the infection causes clotting that then leads to tissue death.

Relatives of Bridi, who was a finalist to represent Brazil in the Miss World contest, emphasize that doctors are trying to save her life. A study published in September in the journal Pediatrics urges doctors not to withdraw life support in such severe cases of septicemia. The researchers studied children who underwent amputations because of meningococcal septicemia three to five years after their surgeries and found they were coping well and "had a good quality of life."

-- Shari Roan

Photo credit: Octavio Bastos / EPA

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Comments (33)

Please accept my prayers, no one deserves this. You are still beautiful, because God made you, and you have a soul, which makes you very precious in His sight. You didn't do anything to deserve this, and Mattew tells us that it is not God's will that this happen to anyone...

Know that you are loved.

This story really touched me deed in my heart .This is such a horrible thing, to have happened to just a beauiful young woman . I 'm praying that things turn out positive for this young woman. I hope she doesn't suffer a long time and that the LORD GOD have mercy on her. Mariana Costa may the lord bless you and your family....praying for your recovery...Jesus love you....

My god! There should be more public information on how to quickly identify this so people can get treatment quickly.

I certainly hope with the love of her family anf friends this beautiful young lady (inside and out) will have a long and rewarding life as I am sure she will.

Sadly, it is not all that uncommon, even in the USA. My friend in California died from this exact situation, three years ago this past Christmas. It all started with what seemed like a routine bladder infection. It's FRIGHTENING. She became septic, and died in less than a week! I think bacteria and viruses are adjusting & mutating, trying to survive against the various antibiotics and medicines used against them. Blessings to Mariana. Get well, honey. You are forever beautiful. Please stay strong, and get well.

Realmente é muito triste uma moça tão bonita e que tem que enfrentar essa situação, torço para que ela se recupere o mais rapido possivel

I recall the case of Tancredo Neves, who was killed by incompetent Brazilian doctors right after becoming president. He was rushed to the USA for better treatment but he had been treated by incompetents too long to save him. One wonders of the competence of the doctors in this case.

Our military doctors should have an ample supply of replacement hands and feet for her. They have been attaching such devices to some of our finest young men and women coming back from Iraq for five years now. Perhaps they could spare a pair of each and some Operating Room time for her.

Sad, sad, sad.

People die everyday of tragic accidents. Would this be news if she was ordinary looking or ugly? Come on, give me a break!

Very sad. But with life there is always hope.

My prayers and thoughts to her and her family.She so young and so many years ahead of her to live.

I had septicemia last year and at first I thought I was just sick. I had no idea that it was such a serious illness. I was out for a whole week, thanks to my doctor I recovered. To this date, I still did not know how I got the infection. I am so sorry for her, may God take care of her.

We are still intimidated by her total physical beauty and the power of her inner beauty is indeed daunting as well.

Aw, if I was only 50 years younger, So you guys or girls at her age should understand what is perfection, and this girl has it.


Realmente, o acontecimento é trágico pois era uma linda garota e tinha um belo futuro pela frente, mas que isto, pelo menos, nos sirva de lição e nos ensine a prever e tratar tais situações e doenças. Sua morte não foi em vão.

she´s dead.

Mariana da Costa Bridi, 20, has died this early saturday morning of january, 24, in Espírito Santo, Brasil. This is a very sad moment to all of her supporters and loved ones. Mariana, you will allways be remenbered... may Lord bless you...

Unfortunately she died today...

God Bless you, Mariana! We are praying for you and your family. You are still a beautiful young woman and we pray that you will find inner strength to deal with all this. You have the overwhekming support of the public who are with you in prayer.

Rest in peace.

What a tragic loss!Is it just the way, that the fate in you was written?Let it be,may you be sleeping with God peacefully.

Our hearts go out to Mariana's family and friends, so tragic. Our daughter also contracted this infection while pregnant with their second child. She was told she had the flu, was told her symptons were part of her being pregnant and also told that it could be kidney stones. As a result she ended up going in for an emergency c-section on June 7, 2008, baby was due July 28th. The baby is fine, however Carol has lost both her feet, her left hand, her right ring finger, had to have massive skin graphs, and lost her vision. We have been trying to find others who have gone thru this horrible ordeal, but sorry to have to find it this way. You can check out Carol's situation from the time she went into the hospital thru her progress today. Carol has to go back for more surgeries soon on her left arm and left leg. Please keep her in your prayers.

God be with all who knew her personally.

Sadly, she passed away early this morning...

About 5 years ago a dear friend of mine, an otherwise healthy young woman, lost her life in her late 20s and left behind a young husband and son. Similar situation, though I can't say if it's the exact bacteria. She thought she had the flu, stayed home from work, when her husband got home she was feverish and delerious but didn't want to go to the doctor yet. She rapidly declined, went to the hospital over the weekend, went into shock and by Monday night/Tuesday was dead of sepsis. Knowing her, she didn't want to "be a wimp," and go to the doctor for just the flu.

This is very sad, obviously. But why some deaths touch us seemingly more
deeply than others, I don't understand, but it certainly is true for me. I know very little about Mariana other than what I'd read in the stories, yet my heart aches for her family and those who suffered this loss. Maybe it's partially true, that "only the good die young."

I am sending love and peace to all people suffering the loss of loved one right now, recent or past.

wow my boss showed me this article this morning without knowing that my cousion and I both have a bacterial infection. I am grateful he did so I know that if it dosent go away get it checked out because it could be serious. And there should be more awarness of this because this is the first time I have heard anything about this.



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