Beds, Herts & Bucks

Flesh-eating bug infected dancer after hospital surgery

A Salsa dance teacher died within days of having routine surgery on a leg injury in a private hospital in Hertfordshire, an inquest was told.

A flesh-eating bug visibly spread from the leg into the body of Maria Garcia, 45, the hearing in Luton heard.

Ms Garcia, from Luton, had keyhole knee surgery at the Spire Hospital in Harpenden in August 2010.

The next day she returned complaining of thigh pain and was taken to Luton and Dunstable hospital where she died.

It is believed she had contracted the flesh-eating bacteria necrotising fasciitis.

Ms Garcia had undergone surgery after twisting her knee while dancing at the Luton Carnival in May.

The inquest heard that her surgeon believed she could be suffering from a deep vein thrombosis and went with her to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital.

Cardiac arrest

Consultant Yegappan Kalairajah told the court clinical staff realised it was something much more serious when Ms Garcia arrived.

They could see her skin change colour in front of their eyes, the inquest at Luton and Dunstable Hospital was told.

Surgery at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital started after 1800 BST that night, when her condition started to deteriorate rapidly.

An emergency procedure was carried out to remove the infected skin on her legs and upper body.

But it soon became clear that the only way to remove all the bacteria and save her life was to amputate the leg.

But before that could take place, Ms Garcia suffered a cardiac arrest.

The court heard that surgeons believed it would be futile to resuscitate her because the flesh-eating bacteria had spread so far.

The coroner will deliver his verdict by 2 March.

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