WARNING: Graphic Image Below

A NEW mum is lucky to be alive after contracting a rare and deadly flesh-eating disease just a week after giving birth.

Charleigh Chatterton, 27, of Harwich, gave birth to her daughter Alessia on April 22 with no initial complications.

Six days later, however, she was overcome with a huge rash across her abdomen which eventually developed into necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease with a mortality rate between 11 and 22 per cent.

Charleigh said: “We left the rash for a day as it looked normal at first but it got a lot worse on Sunday.

“My fiancé Liam called the midwives on Sunday and they recommended I went in to be checked.

“With multiple tests carried out in Colchester Hospital, I was getting clear results but my health was rapidly declining and I was struggling to remain conscious.

Echo: Treatment - The wound was stapled up after surgery

“They sent me down for a CT scan and very quickly after this I was given the news of a possible flesh eating bacteria, necrotising fasciitis, and I needed surgery immediately.”

Charleigh was rushed down on May 1 for an operation and she then had another surgery the next day.

She was kept sedated until Wednesday when doctors were able to wake her up but Charleigh still had two large open wounds on her abdomen.

As a result, a significant amount of dead tissue had to be removed to stop the continuously growing flesh-eating bacteria.

The wounds were left open until May 8 when she then had medical vacuum pumps fitted around her body.

Once they were fitted Charleigh had a further week of physiotherapy treatment before heading home.


Charleigh described how she was feeling during this potentially fatal ordeal.

She added: “I was so frightened, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to see my daughter.

“Liam’s biggest fear was losing me or my daughter and knowing that it was potentially going to be me made me feel quite guilty.

“I always told him that would never happen and receiving potentially fatal news made me feel guilty.”

Charleigh thanked doctors and nurses for being ‘fantastic’ with their treatment of her and keeping her comfortable.

She added: “I’ll definitely have scars but I don’t care how many I live with, I’m just happy to be alive.”