Tarpon Springs woman lost fingers, toes to sepsis

Prosthetic hands and feet can help

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. - Tisa Berset is like many 21-year-olds, desperate for her own independence.  But after 68 days in the hospital, fighting for her life, she feared her independence would be lost forever. 

An illness resulted in sepsis which killed the tissue in her hands and feet. "My parents told me I would sit there and scream because my fingers were bent like a fist and my mom would tell me they looked like chicken wings, plain, black, burnt chicken wings."

A quadruple amputation saved her life. Four months out, she's taking her desire for personal independence one step at a time. She is working towards a buying a truck that can be modified so she can drive. "My car right now is manual.  I can't drive my car.  There's nothing I can do with it."

And she's raising money for prosthetic hands that will help her do simple things.  Friends are stepping up to help.  They've created a Facebook page called hands and feet for the world.  "This hand will just be a high-resolution silicone. It will look like yours, basically."

But it won't be functional. Her right hand, however, will be bionic. "It will have a battery pack that will sit right there and Velcro to my wrist a glove that will slide on and it will have fingers."

Michele DiNicola is a family friend. "She does have enough nerve control in one hand that she would be able to move two of her fingers in hopes she will be able to brush her hair, do her makeup, drive a car."

But these prosthetics are very expensive. Michele says, "From my understanding about $300,000 total."

Insurance will pay 80 percent of the cost of the prosthetics. Michele and Tisa's friends are helping with the rest of the cost by holding fundraisers, so their inspirational friend can continue to ride towards independence.

Tisa says Westcoast Brace and Limb is helping her with the prosthetics. 

To find out more about fundraising for Tisa - or if you can take action for Tisha by helping with a truck that can be modified -- go to my Facebook page -- http://www.facebook.com/LindaHurtadoWFTS .

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