Shelby Smith's Support Fund

$6,675 of $50k goal

Raised by 91 people in 7 days
Cary Springer Smith
on behalf of Shelby Smith
 KNOXVILLE, TN
On the night of Jan 2, my step-daughter, Shelby went to the emergency room for what she thought was just a severe strep infection.  She had been putting off going to the doctor because she did not have health insurance and she thought it was only a strep infection. The following morning, she was put in a medically induced coma on a ventilator in the ICU. They weren't exactly sure what was wrong, just that she was extremely sick with a bacterial infection. They put her on 4 antibiotics and on Jan 5 she was starting to show signs of improvement so they removed her from the ventilator. Unexpectedly, a few hours later, things took a turn for the worst. Her lungs started filling with fluid and she started to go into congestive heart failure. By the end of the day, they had her back on the ventilator. 

 At this point, the doctors (and there were a lot of them: pulmonary, infection disease, ENT, heart just to name a few) were still unsure what the exact cause was however they knew it was bacterial and serious. They finally narrowed it down to a rare strain of strep, as well as staph that had gotten into her bloodstream.  Not only did she have sepsis, she was going into septic shock. 

We were told that 60% of patients that sick do not survive and of those that do survive end up with some type of organ damage. She was very lucky and did not have any lasting organ damage however the medications that were used to keep her heart pumping pulled the blood from her extremities, compromising her circulation in her fingers and toes.  She ended up with permanent damage on 6 fingers and 2 toes. On Jan 18, she underwent surgery for partial amputation. She lost the first knuckle on her left index finger as well as her right pinkie, index and thumb. She lost half of her right ring finger and almost 2/3 of her right middle finger. In addition, she lost 1 ½ of her small toes on her left foot.




She was in the ICU for 1 week and the hospital for another 3 weeks. Then she was transferred to Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center for a week. After being in the hopital for over 5 weeks, she was finally able to go home. 


(Taken a week post-surgery)

She is currently going through outpatient rehabilitation at Patricia Neal where she was lucky to receive a scholarship. Unfortunately, Shelby had been dropped off my health insurance last year when she turned 26. Late last year she had started a job that was going to lead to health insurance and other benefits however because her illness she had to leave the job to focus on her recovery.  Right now the medical bills are staring to pile up and she is currently not working. We are hoping that we can help to pay down some of her medical debt so that she can focus on recovery and going back to work as well as getting married. 

After going through this scare, her then boyfriend, Caleb, decided that under no circumstances did he want to go through another experience like this as just her boyfriend. Using a family ring, Caleb proposed to Shelby in the ever-so-romantic parking lot of the hospital three days after her surgery. They are eager to start their life together but are waiting until the financial situation can settled before setting a date. 



Throughout the entire experience, Shelby has remained very positive. She is taking this as a second chance at life and is making the most of it.  Recently, WATE (a local tv station) did an interview with Shelby about her experiences and her positive outlook. The interview can be viewed  here: 

http://wate.com/2017/03/17/rare-strep-throat-strain-led-to-amputation-for-knoxville-woman/  

Warning: There are images of her fingers prior to surgery that some people may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.

On behalf of Shelby, I am setting up this GoFundMe page in hopes of helping her pay off her medical bills. Currently, the total amount owed is nearing $100,000 and we are unsure how many more bills will be coming. While we are hoping we can negotiate some of these charges down, it still is staggering for someone who is currently unable to work. We are hoping that through this GoFundMe campaign, Shelby can place the majority of her focus, not on her growing medical debt, but rather on regaining as much use out of her right hand and creating her "new normal".  

Shelby and her family are forever grateful for any support that can be offered, whether it is monetary or just words of support. Thank you!
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Update 1
Posted by Cary Springer Smith
3 days ago
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Today, Shelby had her second followup visit with both doctors who performed her surgeries. The foot surgeon, said that everything looks to be healing well. The surgical site is still a tiny bit swollen but that is likely because some of her shoes tend to rub the area. We may have to go through a little trial and error to determine which shoes will not aggravate the area. Thank goodness that the weather is warming so there should be more options. In spite of the slight swelling, we believe this was the last visit with regard to her foot.

The hand doctor also noted that her fingers are healing well. The rate of improvement in range of motion is starting to plateau a bit but that is to be expected at this point. She still has a some swelling in her fingers as well as few adhesions in her right index and ring fingers that are a bit stubborn. The swelling and adhesions are limiting her range of movement. He said that if she continues with her stretches, massaging and other exercises it is likely that she will continue to see small improvements even as far out as six months from now. Knowing Shelby, she is going to take this as a challenge and work twice as hard to get as much that range of motion back as possible. There will be another followup visit for her fingers in a couple of months.

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude for all the support received this week. We greatly appreciate every single donation, kind word and campaign share. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
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$6,675 of $50k goal

Raised by 91 people in 7 days
Created March 20, 2017
Cary Springer Smith  
on behalf of Shelby Smith
$15
Anonymous
12 hours ago
$10
Anonymous
19 hours ago
$100
Anonymous
1 day ago
$30
Anonymous
1 day ago
MD
$100
Mike and Bonnie Donnelly
1 day ago

Caleb's Aunt and Uncle....can wait to meet you one day....thoughts and prayers to you xox

$20
Anonymous
1 day ago
$50
Anonymous
1 day ago
$20
Anonymous
1 day ago
$10
Anonymous
2 days ago
MY
$20
Mutsuko Yamada
2 days ago

Stay strong and radiant, just as you are!

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