Tessa Puma is a 6-year-old girl from Ohio with a passion for dance, but after suffering rare complications from strep throat, this sweet girl needed to have her leg amputated. You're probably wondering how strep throat could lead to such a life-changing surgery, which is why the details of Tessa's story are so important for parents to understand.
Tessa previously had strep throat, which was treated with antibiotics, but after coming down with the flu and complaining of severe pain in her arms and legs, Tessa's parents knew something was wrong. When her parents took her to the hospital, Tessa was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, a serious flesh-eating bacterial infection that kills the body's soft tissues as it spreads quickly. Her father, Matt Puma, told ABC News that doctors believe the scary infection was caused by the bacteria from strep throat spreading into her bloodstream.
"They did some more tests and confirmed she had the flu and saw she had some kind of infection," her father said. "She spent a couple of days in the hospital, and her leg got worse and worse." Matt explained that it got to the point where even "simply touching Tessa made her scream in pain."
Tessa's doctors operated on her leg to relieve the swelling, but while in surgery, they saw her whole leg had been infected and there was a ton of dead tissue. They decided the best thing to do was amputate her left leg from the knee down. The sweet little girl will need additional surgery to remove other parts of her leg and start the skin grafting process for the damaged areas on her shoulder, chest, and back.
She has a long recovery ahead of her, but Tessa will undoubtedly return to dancing as soon as she's able. "She's such a bright young girl with amazing abilities," her mom, Tina, told the Akron Beacon Journal. "This is just a small setback, but I guarantee she will still be able to do her dreams because she's a determined little girl who never gives up on anything she puts her mind to. We think this is just going to be part of her story."