A woman battling flesh-eating bacteria was given a 20 percent chance to live — now she’s proving doctors wrong


A Newnan woman is battling flesh-eating bacteria and was recently in a coma for 11 days.

On May 7, Kristie Vessell wasn’t feeling well, and then two days later, she was in a coma.

Doctors told her husband, Jack Vessell, that she only had a 20 percent chance of surviving. Now, she is doing much better, but Kristie Vessell still has a long recovery ahead.

“It’s scary, because you go from living your life day to day to not knowing what the next day is going to be like,” Jack Vessell told Channel 2’s Craig Lucie.

Kristie Vessell just recently got off a ventilator.

“When she first went in, they gave her a 20 percent chance of living, so we are counting our blessings. We have turned a corner and are heading in the right direction,” said Jack Vessell.

Doctors at Emory University Hospital Midtown are treating her for the rare flesh-eating bacterium, necrotizing fasciitis, that quickly spreads and kills the body’s soft tissue.

Right now, the disease has attacked several parts of Kristie Vessell’s body.

“Primarily on right leg, her upper thigh, lower leg. She has a spot on her lower left leg and a spot above her left wrist,” Jack Vessell said.

Doctors don’t know where the Newnan mother got it.

“They think she may have had open sore on her leg and may have contracted by that way, but they are not sure where it came from,” Jack Vessell said.

Jack Vessell told Lucie he’s unfortunately been through this before.

“I lost my first wife in 2006 after 5 months in the hospital, so when this first happened, you have flashbacks, ‘Well, not again,’” Vessell said.

Keesha Vessell died from an auto-immune disease that also attacked her body.

Jack Vessell told Lucie that Kristie is now improving and will have to have several skin grafts.

“Without faith, I don’t know how we could have made it through. You got to have strength,” Jack Vessell said.

Lucie asked Jack Vessell about their hospital bills, and he said after 18 days in the hospital, their first hospital bill was for $483,000.

He says their insurance company will only cover part of it. If you would like to help, you can do so here.


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