RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Alyshia Shimizu, center, huddled for a photo yesterday with parents Anthony and Annette at their Ewa home.
Girl has some new skin since bacteria ate flesh
What ever happened to 5-year-old Alyshia Shimizu, who battled flesh-eating bacteria seven years ago?
Answer: Alyshia is now 13 and attends Ilima Intermediate School in Ewa Beach as an eighth-grader.
"She's so tall. She's growing into a young lady," said her father, Anthony, a police officer at the Wahiawa Substation.
But due to growth spurts, her mother, Annette, said there are some areas on her body where the scar tissue is tightening, which is making it difficult for her to bend from her midsection.
When Alyshia was in fifth grade, she underwent a Z-plasty, a procedure that was administered to her back to relieve pressure from hardened areas from the skin graft to allow her skin to stretch, said her mother.
Shimizu contracted flesh-eating bacteria in June 2000 after she fell at her Wahiawa home. She suffered a cut to her right knee. After it was cleaned and stitched, it later became infected and developed into a flesh-eating disease called necrotizing fasciitis.
Alyshia lost more than 33 percent of her skin tissue before doctors stopped the spread of the disease.
She sustained scarring to parts of her right leg, under her right arm, the middle of her back and her chest.
Alyshia underwent two surgeries at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children in which doctors removed dead tissue. She then underwent skin grafts at Shriners Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., to replace skin on her legs and torso.
Alyshia and her family have lived in Ewa for several years. She is expected to undergo more skin grafts until she stops growing, said her mother yesterday.
She continues to have routine checkups with her doctor at Shriners Hospital for Children in Honolulu.
"I'm feeling all right, better than before," Alyshia said yesterday.
Alyshia is planning to attend Campbell High School next fall and aspires to be a model or an actor, said her mother.
This update was written by reporter Rosemarie Bernardo.
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