Calderdale woman who had legs and fingers amputated after contracting sepsis determined to ‘live a full life’
A brave woman had her world 'turned upside down' after she had both legs and nine fingers amputated after a simple virus turned out to be sepsis.
Stephanie Harrop, 64, was struck down with sepsis in 2019 and fell into a coma - but when she woke up her hands and feet were completely black.
She had to have surgery to remove her legs from the knee down and then eventually had every finger but a digit on her left hand removed.
Stephanie began to feel unwell on April 1, 2019, complaining of back pain, wheeziness and nausea.
Her condition worsened and she began to vomit, but her nurse practitioner told her she had a virus and was given no treatment.
A GP prescribed her with anti-sickness tablets, but the following day she collapsed and was rushed to Bradford Royal Infirmary's A&E by ambulance.
Stephanie was transferred to the intensive care unit for investigation and underwent a series of tests including a CT scan, blood tests and chest x-rays.
She was diagnosed with sepsis - when the body attacks itself in response to an infection - and was given antibiotics.
In June that year, surgeons at Bradford Royal Infirmary amputated both of her legs below the knee, and then more than two months later nine of her fingers were amputated.
Following the surgeries, Stephanie was referred for rehabilitation and physiotherapy and has remained positive during her recovery - but has sadly lost her job as a mental health community support worker as a result.
She was left bedridden for seven months in hospital before she was eventually allowed to return home.
Stephanie, from Greetland, said: "My life is completely different to two years ago and it has taken a long time for me to get to where I am today.
"I have to pay towards my care, which has a big impact on my life financially. I also can't socialise or go the gym, which I really enjoyed before falling ill.
"My lifestyle has changed dramatically and some days I still struggle to come to terms with what's happened.
"But I know that nothing can change what I've been through, so I'm determined to be as positive as I can and live a full life.
"I just hope that by speaking out, others in a similar situation can try to be positive and don't feel they have to go through it alone. There is a lot of support out there."
Stephanie is now joining her legal team at Irwin Mitchell in marking Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month by speaking out on how she is progressing with her recovery.
Rachelle Mahapatra, the specialist medical negligence lawyer representing Stephanie, said: "The past two years have been incredibly difficult for Stephanie, firstly contracting sepsis and then having to undergo amputation surgery.
"Through our work, we sadly see many people who have had their world turned upside down by illness and are struggling to cope with the impact it has on their everyday life.
"Stephanie has been through a terrible ordeal but has shown such bravery and courage as she attempts to come to terms with everything.
"While we can't change what's happened to Stephanie, 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.
"Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month is important to highlight the help and support available to people affected by this."
She has since had further operations to help regain some of the function in her remaining finger, as well as plastic surgery and also uses prosthetic limbs.
However, she remains reliant on help from her partner, Robert, 55, and 35-year-old daughter, Jo, as well as carers which Stephanie is currently having to pay for.