Miracle recovery for a mother who nearly died from infection

DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — It was one of the Vaughans’ happiest days, as a baby boy joined the Acushnet family.

Christine was a lifelong dancer and now a happy mother of two.

But a fever struck within days, and got worse.

Within days of the Vaughan’s awesome day of life, the mom was back in the hospital with a severe infection and then airlifted to a Providence hospital.

“Awful, awful,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

There were about 40 surgeries, the loss of vision in one eye, layers of muscle removed from her arms and legs and a double amputation. That wonderful birthday had spiraled into a nightmare that almost killed her.

“I’m just grateful to be alive,” Vaughan said. “And I just want to get back to the way things were before.”

By the fall, she beat the odds again after she was fitted with prosthetic legs sooner than expected. She amazed Randy Penney at South Coast Orthopedic Technology.

“Incredible. Incredible,” Penney said. “Three weeks after she got these prosthethics, she walked into the office. I couldn’t believe it.”

But Vaughan was not nearly satisfied with just walking.

In November, she was back in front of a Zumba class at a Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. It was short, and she had help from a safety harness.

“I was beat. It was tough,” Vaughan recalled. “But at the same time, my adrenaline was through the roof. As soon as the music came on, as soon as the music came on and people started following along and laughing, it felt normal.”

She points out that while she goes to therapy sessions twice a week to perfect her walk, every day is workout, from getting out of bed to walking down the hallway to chasing her kids.

“I want to be there for them,” Vaughan added. “I could just lay in bed every day and sulk and be sad about what happened, or go the opposite way and get back up on my feet and be what I was before and be an inspiration for others.”

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