I lost both legs & nearly died three times after catching deadly bug
A MODEL who had both her legs amputated after catching Covid and nearly dying THREE times has revealed how she was saved by doctors.
Speaking exclusively to the Sun for the first time since surgery, 21-year-old Claire Bridges revealed how her world changed overnight when she suffered medical complications triggered by Covid.
Claire, who was born with a serious heart condition, was rushed to hospital in January after suffering severe leg pain at her Florida home.
The Covid diagnosis and Claire’s condition stopped her heart from working and lead to her flatlining three times as doctors fought to save her life.
Due to the lack of blood flow to Claire’s legs, medics were forced to make the heartbreaking decision to remove Claire’s limbs in order to keep her alive.
Four months on, the incredible young woman has vowed to make to return to modelling despite the ‘grief’ of having her legs amputated.
Brave Claire told the Sun: “I felt scared during my health battle especially because I had another open-heart surgery coming up.
“I’ve managed to cope by allowing myself to lean on my support system and grieve but not allow it to consume me.
“I remain positive because I’m here, I have an amazing support system and doctors, it could always be worse.
“…When I was told that doctors brought me back three times I just said, “thank you for saving my life”.
“I was shocked but I remember feeling grateful to be alive.”
Claire, From Tampa, began to feel ill around January 16th when she was unable to walk due to severe leg pains.
She was unable to eat or drink and deteriorated rapidly before being admitted to hospital.
Her organs quickly began to fail after Claire was diagnosed with Covid, myocarditis, rhabdomyolysis, mild pneumonia, cyanosis and acidosis – all on top of her congenital heart condition.
She was placed on life support as well as being hooked up to a dialysis machine when her kidneys began to fail.
Claire’s condition meant doctors battled to save her giving her life-saving CPR three times.
Claire’s dad told how her family was put on the phone with the hospital chaplain – to prepare them for the worst.
But Claire was stabilised before doctors performed a fasciotomy, to relieve pressure on her legs after the loss of blood circulation.
However, the procedure failed to save claire’s limbs and she was given the devastating news that she would need to have both of her legs removed below the knee.
Claire told the Sun: “I was aware my legs would be amputated before I went into surgery.
“All the doctors in my care and my parents all came into my room to tell me what was going to have to happen.
“After the surgery, I had phantom pains and was in a delirious state.
“I was still very sick and was on lots of medication, so I don’t remember much of what was actually going on.”
Dad, Wayne Bridges, added: “I remember getting the call from the ER doctor telling me Claire’s heart had stopped beating and they were trying to revive her, which they did.
“While I was on the phone with the doctor and Chaplin, Claire’s heart stopped again and had to be revived 2 more times.
“I literally fell to the ground in tears and was praying and pleading to God.
“It was the scariest and most difficult thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life, but I am grateful we still have Claire.”
Despite the life-changing event, Claire battled through and made a steady recovery – making it home for her 21st birthday in just nine weeks later.
She is now at home surrounded by her family as she adapts to her new way of life.
She said: “Since Covid, my life has changed drastically, I was highly independent, on the go 24/7, in school, working, whereas now I depend heavily on my support system to do daily tasks.”
Claire says she tries not to let the ‘grief’ of what happened to consume her and wants to help others in a similar situation.
The model, who is still facing heart surgery, is now undergoing rehab at home and will soon start the process of getting her prosthetic legs fitted.
She said: “My hopes for the future include me going back to school, modelling, and hopefully being able to help others going through similar situations.
“The goal is for me to do everything I did before, plus more, just with prosthetic legs.
“If anyone is in a similar situation, I want them to know they aren’t alone, and it’s okay to have your days to grieve but don’t let it consume you and sure as hell do not go gently.”
Wayne, who has been by his daughter’s side throughout, described Claire as a ‘warrior’.
He told the Sun: “She has her ups and downs as you can imagine but she is resilient, positive and inspiring.
“She is determined to get back to modeling, rock climbing, hiking and more.
“Our expectations are for a full recovery and Claire gets back to doing what she loves. Claire told me this will not stop her from doing what she wants.”
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