Woman loses leg as it ‘exploded’ with septic pus after she broke it in a fall

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A woman lost her leg after it "exploded" with pus as she was waiting to be seen at a hospital.

Helen Way, 49, broke her limb in a fall which became septic after having a metal plate inserted.

She has described the gruesome scenes while she was waiting to be assessed at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

Several months and operations later Helen, of Trowbridge, Wiltshire, said very little of the tissue remained and she had to get it amputated.

She told SomersetLive: "After I was sent home from hospital after my initial surgery, my condition started to get worse.

"I started experiencing more pain and swelling and started being sick. I felt something wasn’t right but I kept attending appointments and asking questions but it seemed that nobody was too concerned.

"When I was told to back to hospital it came as a real shock.

"I hadn’t been there long when my leg just exploded and a significant amount of pus started leaking out of my wound from where I’d had the metal plate fitted.

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"After that, it seemed to be operation after operation and each time more of where my leg had been infected was removed."

She had been taken to hospital by ambulance after becoming ill and blood tests revealed it was an emergency.

Surgeons removed the metal plate along with the infected tissue, knee cartilage and bone following a string of operations.

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Doctors suggested the amputation after Helen spent 18 days in intensive care.

She said: "It got to the point where there was not much leg or knee left.

"Before I broke my leg I was very independent and enjoyed a happy and active life.

"I loved travelling, walking and gardening but now I struggle to do any of those now because of my condition.

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"My house needed to be adapted straight away so I could remain living there and now I’m a lot more reliant on my partner, Andy, for support.

"Life is completely different to what it used to be and there have been some difficult times accepting what has happened.

"However, I know nothing can change what I’ve been through, so I’m determined not to be defined by my disability and live as a full a life as I can."

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Following her ordeal, Helen hired expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care she received.

Elise Burvill, the medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Helen, said: "Despite the terrible ordeal Helen and her family have been through, she continues to show bravery and courage as she comes to terms with everything.

"While nothing can make up for what’s happened to Helen, we’re determined to support her by ensuring she has access to the specialist care and therapies she needs to continue her recovery and make the most out of life."

Helen spoke out after joining her legal team to support Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month.

  • NHS
  • Ambulances

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