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Woman's Toes Amputated After 'Winter Flu' Turned Out To Be Sepsis

Woman's Toes Amputated After 'Winter Flu' Turned Out To Be Sepsis

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS DISTRESSING CONTENT

A woman has had to have both of her feet partially amputated after what she thought was a winter flu turned out to be an awful case of sepsis.

Ruth Kent, 53, assumed her symptoms were down to flu, having suffered shivering and aching for a couple of days last November.

However, one night her condition worsened dramatically and she woke up to discover she had lost control of her bowels.

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When she ran to the toilet, she noticed a pain in her feet but pushed it to the side. The following day, her health deteriorated even further.

"My feet were killing and I felt like my legs were going to go so I lay on the sofa," explained Ruth.

"My son got up at 9am and he found me on the sofa [having become incontinent again]. I had gone blue.

Ruth Kent. Credit: Kennedy News and Media
Ruth Kent. Credit: Kennedy News and Media
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"My body was shutting down and he rang an ambulance. I remember him screaming."

When Ruth arrived at Northampton General Hospital, she was placed in intensive care for meningococcal meningitis.

"I deteriorated very, very quickly. It was really scary," she said. "My son saved my life that day. If he hadn't have been there, I would have been a goner."

At the hospital, the meningitis infection spread and turned into sepsis.

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"I don't remember much but I was in intensive care for about two weeks," she added.

"I was very confused and my hands, feet and face had gone black. They thought I would lose my nose...

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"My brother came over from New York the following Friday with his wife. They were preparing for the worst.

Ruth's toes turned black. Credit: Kennedy News and Media
Ruth's toes turned black. Credit: Kennedy News and Media
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"Then I went into high-dependency unit [HDU] where I started to come round a bit. I had a little bit to eat. I had a few mouthfuls and I was crying then.

"They started to give me a bath and I couldn't see. I thought the blinds were closed but my vision had gone. I had an explosion in the back of my eyes.

"When I got into HDU it started to come back again. I'm lucky that I didn't lose my sight...

"There's one finger now that I can't bend properly and I lost all the nails.

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"I'm so lucky that they did recover because I could have lost my fingers or hands. They still tingle constantly even now and I struggle to hold things for a long time."

Ruth recovering in hospital. Credit: Kennedy News and Media
Ruth recovering in hospital. Credit: Kennedy News and Media

After getting through the worst of it, Ruth was eventually discharged in December - however, she was soon called back in when her feet didn't recover and the doctors discovered Ruth had gangrene.

It was at this point the doctors had no choice but to amputate numerous toes, as well as the sides and soles of her feet.

"Since I've had sepsis myself, I've realised it's rife. There's people out there that are still unaware of it.

Ruth had to have her toes amputated after gangrene set in. Credit: Kennedy News and Media
Ruth had to have her toes amputated after gangrene set in. Credit: Kennedy News and Media

"When I had the flu symptoms it was the normal aching and shivering - feeling lousy...

"My message to anyone who thinks things aren't quite right is to call the GP or 111. Ask that question - 'could this be sepsis?' It could save your life."

Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News and Media

Topics: sepsis, woman

Daisy Phillipson

Daisy is a UK-based freelance journalist with too many opinions. She loves everything film and music-related and has a track record writing for Little White Lies, BWRC, and Film Daily. Contact her at [email protected]