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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)

My deepest condolence to this family and my heart is with Mariana
my prayers are for her soul to rest in peace and family .
Let God comfort you and let Mariana rest in peace.

Siento mucho la perdida de esta bella chica con tanto futuro mis condolencias ban para su familia y amistades y las personas en general que la conosen.
tan corta y rapida fue su vida que descanse en Paz y Que este en el seno de nuestro senor Jesucristo.
Resignacion!!!! se que sera dificil!!!
Dios con vosotros!!!!!

My beautiful, strong, only son lost his life to MRSA on 12/6/2003.

I have been following Mariana's story through tear filled eyes since seeing it on CNN several days ago. My heart goes out to Mariana and her family. There are no words to describe the pain.

Please see for Ricky's story and more information on MRSA.

I am appalled after reading entire story of this young, beautiful girl, specially when I saw that she was in need of the rare Blood group O negative. My blood is O negative and I would have given her the blood that she required. Unfortunately, I read her story and and about sad demsie only after hearing in the news. I would have not mind to travel even from USA (where I live) to Brazil to give my blood to this innocent child who is just equal to the age of my daughter.

Mariana's entire struggle and her death deeply touched me, more so because I have lost my son 15 years old few years back. I know almost nothing about this innocent kid other than what I'd read in the stories, yet my heart sinks and in pain for her family and those who suffered this loss. I am sending my love, best wishes and peace to the family and friends of this little beautiful girl. My deepest condolence to her family prayers for her soul to rest in peace. Let God comfort you mariana and rest you in peace.

Dr. Bilgrami (USA)

I do realize that this is something that has happened to other people that goes unreported; however, even if it is being reported only because she is a beautiful famous model, it is still read-worthy. Not necessarily because of her fame and beauty, but because it is good for people to be aware of these types of things. most people do not realize how serious certain things are, especially when they are young and healthy like she was. They get busy with thier lives and figure this is just another cold that they will shake off in a few days. Consequently, they end up not seeking help until it is too late, such as in Marie's case. Additionally, when they do seek help, because the doctors see that they are otherwise young, they are often not thought of as having something that serious, nor thought to be that sick, so they end up being misdiagnosed. Those doctors in Brazil are also incompentent. Word to the wise - Do not allow anyone, not even yourself to take your health for granted.

i was really got shocked and felt sorry to read the news paper about the desease and the sweet was a sad storey....but i think she gave her life by saving millions of people showing how dangerous the desease is and making everyone aware of it. bcoz i just came to know that ther's a desease called septicemia and its symtoms.

Wow, i didnt even know who this model was but this is terrable. I feel sorry for the family and her fans. Just the though of being amputated makes me feel sick...

My sister was just told that she has the same as mariana. I don't think its in her blood yet. It's been on her stomach chess and leg and arm. She was first told she had MRSA. She actually was told they thought she was bit by the brown recluce spider. They dug out all the infection in her leg and arm about around Septenber. She went back three times. She was on antibiotics for this. then she started getting pimple like sores on her stomach that turn into boils. She then was told she had MRSA. She has been on Antibiotics for months and this last round two days afterwards she got boils on her stomch that openned up again but this time they told her it was pseudomanas aeruginose. She was in the hospital 10 days ago and the held her over night but did not take a sample of the boils at the time. they just asumed it was the MRSA. She is also O negative as well. "We both are." I was just told I have the H pylori bacterium again ," I got it a year and a half ago and a bladder infection from having a cathodor for my surgury on march 10th for a full hystirectomy. My Iron is severley low righ now. Is there a link in this all with O negative blood and bacteriums infections. This is all so scary to us now. My bother was just telling us about her and my sister as I said came home after the doctor with this on her skin. Can this go into the blood? Please someone help me to fined the right answers. She has high blood pressure and it's been dropping a couple of months agao she was passing out and so hot that she didn't wear a coat at work on the pipe line in 0 degree weather. She had many signs of this but know one thought to do more investegating into why she had all these systems. She sat in the Hospital 10 days agao for a whole night before they started anitbiotics on her. They just watched her and then sent her home saying she had MRSA. I am talking in cycles now I know this but I am stressed out and confused as to what to do about this.
Thanks for your time, email is



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