Twenty-year-old Brazilian model Mariana Bridi da Costa has died at a hospital early Saturday morning following a long fight with Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. She once told friends she was “living the dream” but a series of medical complications has turned that dream into a tragedy. In just the past month, a urinary tract infection turned dangerous when septicemia developed. The system-wide blood infection has led to multiple amputations in an effort to save her life.
Bridi first sought medical attention in late December for what was diagnosed as kidney stones. A urinary tract infection (UTI) soon developed and it quickly escalated to septicemia.
The blood infection diminished the flow of oxygen to her extremities and last week both her hands and both her feet were amputated in an effort to save her life. Earlier in the ordeal, both kidneys failed and were removed and this past Thursday night surgeons removed a portion of her stomach.
In the recent days Bridi was placed on life support, required dialysis, and was able to communicate only with her eyes. Nevertheless, she had signaled to her family that she wanted to live.
Urinary tract infections are quite common and most people recover from them with little effort. Dr. Charles Clarke, neurology consultant for the United Kingdom’s National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, says even developing septicemia from a UTI is “not a very rare thing” but it is “very rare” when the infection is so severe amputation is required.
Brini’s struggle gained worldwide attention, with fans sending their prayers via email from places as far-flung as Australia, Italy, France, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Russia, and the US.
Bridi got her modeling career started after contacting Henrique Fontes, executive director of the Miss World Brazil beauty pageant, who told her she’d need to travel to Curitiba to compete. Travel she did, via a 20-hour bus ride. In both 2006 and 2007, she placed fourth in the competition.
Last year in China, Bridi placed sixth in the Miss Bikini International competition and won first place in the ‘Best in Swimsuit’ category. She was looking forward to competing in April in a prestigious Brazilian model competition presented by the same agency that discovered Brazilian supermodel Giselle Bunchen. Bridi even reserved a special place in her personal diary to record her thoughts during this up-coming competition.
Fontes, Bridi’s family, her boyfriend, and others close to her have all expressed surprise that she has survived so long against such staggering odds. They ask Bridi’s fans everywhere to pray for her.
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