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Saving Alexis’ Leg — and Inspiring her Life

Alexis H resized 150th

Alexis grabbed onto the rope, swung out over the water and let go. She and her family were vacationing on a beautiful lake. On her way into the water, a tree branch cut her leg.

“I was in a lot of pain, but got antibiotics and flew home a few days later,” says Alexis, then 16. Five days later, her leg began to swell. Then her leg burst open.

Doctors at Children’s National Hospital diagnosed her with compartment syndrome, a painful condition that involves dangerous pressure within a muscle. They performed emergency surgery and made another discovery: she had necrotizing fasciitis, a life-threatening soft tissue infection. “The doctors worked super hard and around the clock to save my life, while also trying to avoid amputating my leg,” she says. Alexis was in the hospital for months.

Alexis recovered fully. She’s now a 23-year-old college graduate working in the biopharmaceutical industry. She says the collaborative spirit among her medical team and their care inspired her to pursue a career in the medical field. “It's easy to feel like you have no control over your destiny,” she says. “But at Children’s National, everyone truly cared about me, my observations about my care and my ideas. I saw firsthand how approaching a patient's treatment in that manner can have life-changing results.”

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