Bath Salts Injection Causes Woman to Lose Her Arm
A woman who injected herself with bath salts lost her arm and shoulder after the illicit drugs caused a flesh-eating bacteria to take hold in her body. According to MSNBC, the 34-year-old New Orleans woman was in such danger that doctors could actually see the virus killing the healthy tissue in her arm.
The woman admitted to doctors at the Louisiana hospital that she had injected bath salts at a party two days previously, and had been experiencing pain and redness at the site of the injection. Doctors gave her antibiotics designed to treat a skin infection, and while she experienced some relief, she came back to the hospital two days later with pain, growing redness and a smelly drainage.
The woman was admitted to the operating room where doctors soon discovered dead muscle in her arm, the result of a fast-moving, flesh-eating infection. In order to save her life, surgeons had to remove her right arm and shoulder, as well as perform a mastectomy to cut away more dead tissue.
The condition was diagnosed later as necrotizing fasciitis, caused by streptococcus bacteria. MSNBC noted that most of these infections require surgery within 25 hours to ensure survival, and that many kill.
The case caused experts in the medical and scientific community to worry over the popularity of using illicit bath salts as a drug. According to the American Association of Poison Control, centers across the country received about 300 calls regarding bath salts in 2010. In 2011, that number had jumped to more than 6,000.
Bath salts are illegal in 16 states and three chemicals used to make them have been banned by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, MSNBC said.