Young girl, who lost parts of 4 limbs after rare infection, finally going home
Published Thursday, July 9, 2015 8:13AM EDT
Alyssa Sippley, the New Brunswick girl who lost parts of all four limbs from strep infection, is finally getting ready to go home.
After being fitted with a prosthetic arm and undergoing months of rehab to learn how to use it, staff at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation in Fredericton say the 10-year-old is ready to go home to Baie-Sainte-Anne, N.B.
Last November, Sippley contracted strep throat, a normally mild throat infection caused by group A streptococcus bacteria. But Sippley developed a rare complication in which the bacteria began to spread throughout her body, causing septic shock.
When her mother noticed bruising on the girl’s body, she rushed Sippley to hospital, where doctors said the bacteria were causing her blood to clot everywhere, cutting off blood supply and killing off tissue.
As her condition worsened, Sippley was given a five per cent chance of survival. But the decision by doctors to amputate all her infected limbs saved her life.
Both her arms were amputated at the elbow, one leg was removed from under her knee, and the other amputated all the way up to the hip.
When the little girl's story made headlines last winter, there was an outpouring of support and a GoFundMe page raised over $120,000 for the family.
Sippley now has an electric wheelchair and the prosthetic left arm, which has allowed her to do things she hasn't done since losing her limbs.
"She's learned to feed herself, she's learned to help brush her teeth, she's learned to drink from a cup," says Stan Cassidy occupational therapist Krista Fraser. "All of those things that help Mom and Dad too, at home."
Sippley will still likely face challenges after she returns home, Fraser said.
"She's going to have to learn how to live life in her new body and her family are going to have to look at all of the activities that they do in the day and re-learn how to do that," she said.
Despite all that Sippley has gone through, she remains upbeat, her father Yves Sippley said.
"She's just been incredible through all of this. She's up for any challenge, you know, she's not being depressed or anything. She really is inspiring," he said.
As she continues to grow, she will still need to return to the rehab hospital to be fitted with new prosthetics and undergo more rehab. But her father feels confident she’ll be able to handle it.
"We're optimistic that as she gets older and as she develops more skills with her prosthetics and that, that there's nothing, really, that's going to slow her down. Because she's just been handling everything now so well," he said.
Her sister Caitlin agrees.
"I think we've been through the toughest stuff now... I think she'll be doing good throughout the future."
With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Andy Campbell