Woman Paralyzed For Life After Using Friend's Makeup Brush

“The pain was worse than childbirth,” said Jo Gilchrist, mother of a 2-year-old son.

Jo Gilchrist, Mom in Wheelchair From Staph Infection

Here's a cautionary tale about why people should never share makeup, applicator brushes or sponges with anyone.

Jo Gilchrist from Brisbane, Australia, became permanently paralyzed after she caught a virulent infection from using her best friend's makeup brush on a pimple.

The 27-year-old woman told Daily Mail in an interview that she was left “writhing in pain on Valentine's Day” this year and had to be airlifted to a hospital for an emergency surgery, after which she was put into an induced coma.

“It started as a little ache in my back and I thought it was my bad posture, but it kept getting worse and worse,” she stated. “I was in incredible pain and nothing would work. I honestly thought I was going to die – the pain was worse than childbirth.”

Gilchrist was later told by her doctors that a drug-resistant strain of staph known as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) invaded her body and attacked her spine. She believes her friend, whose brush shed had used, had the infection on her face.

“My friend did have a staph infection on her face and I was using her brush just before. I had no idea that could even happen, I used to share with my friends all the time," Gilchrist added.

Recommended: 6 Health Threats Hiding In Your Makeup Bag


This guy, every Wednesday comes and visits me while I'm in my wheelchair. On the Wednesday just gone he took me for an...

Posted by Jo Gilchrist on Friday, March 6, 2015

For almost three months, Gilchrist has been in Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital where doctors are still trying to rid her body of the bacteria.

"It's been the hardest struggle I've ever faced," she wrote on her Facebook page. "There's been lots of sleepless nights and days spent sleeping. There's been vomiting, tremendous pain. Tears for the unknown and tears for all the accidents. As hard as it has been I'm so lucky to have muscle power and no feeling than the other way around!"

Although doctors say that her spine is so severely damaged that she might be paralyzed for life, Gilchrist is hopeful and learning to walk again with a lot of help from her 2-year-old son Tommy.


For all the kind words and love I thank you, it's been the hardest struggle I've ever faced. There's been lots of...

Posted by Jo Gilchrist on Monday, March 30, 2015

Read More: Simple Sneeze Almost Left Australian Mother Paralyzed

Staph bacteria is easily transmitted through open wounds, such as a scratch or a cut, according to National Institutes of Health. While most staph infections can be treated with antibiotics, MRSA is hard to treat and can be life-threatening if it spreads to the bloodstream or enters the lungs.

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