Woman battling rare bacteria recovering after health scare - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Woman battling rare bacteria recovering after health scare

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GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -

The brother of a woman battling rare bacterial infection found in dog saliva said that he believes her darkest days are behind her.

David Johnson is optimistic his sister Hannah Rinehart is on the road to recovery after some scary moments last week. The triple cancer survivor, whose immune system was weakened, contracted a rare bacterial infection from her dog's saliva. As a result of the infection, doctors amputated Rinehart's feet and hands.

Last Friday night family and friends gathered at Northside Hospital where Hannah is recovering. Doctors told the family to prepare for the worst as Rinehart's heart rate had jumped to dangerous levels.

"She was experiencing heart rates of over 200," said Johnson.

Johnson says doctors have since brought Hannah's heart rate to normal levels. But he says she is still heavily sedated, unaware of the amputations and breathing through a ventilator.

Johnson believes the worst is over for his sister.

"Oh absolutely. I think it has. I absolutely believe that last Friday night was our darkest hour since she had to undergo the amputations," said Johnson.

Helping brighten those dark hours is strong community support. Dozens of teachers at South Gwinnett High School have offered to give their time off to fellow teacher Mark Rinehart, Hannah's husband, so he can take care of her. 

The Gwinnett County Board of Education has yet to take any action on the teachers' requests to let them donate their time off to Hannah's husband.

A Friday night football game fundraiser is scheduled. Sales from t-shirt sales and raffle tickets will help offset the mounting medical bills for Hannah Rinehart.

"I'm sure not having hands and feet is going to be a tremendous shock, but knowing my sister, she's going to pay a lot more attention to the community and how much everybody loved her while she was sick," said Johnson.

The fundraiser for Hannah Rinehart begins at 5 p.m. on Friday at South Gwinnett High School.

For information on how to help, visit: hannahrinehart.org

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