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Anthony’s story

Helen tells her father, Anthonys, story when he contracted Necrotising Fasciitis after a routine operation on his leg.
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Hello my name is Helen, I live in Chesterfield in Derbyshire with my mum and dad and I am seventeen years old. My story begins with my dad having routine day surgery for removal of varicose veins on July 9th 2009 on his right leg. His surgery was very uneventful, we picked him up at about half seven that night and sat down to what I didn’t realise would be the last meal together as a family for five weeks.

Friday morning he began to shiver and shake, was continually feeling hot and cold and just generally wasn’t well. My mum was getting more and more worried about him and called for a doctor, at this point he was rushing to the bathroom to be sick. He spent the majority of that day in bed and I hoped the sickness injection and antibiotics prescribed by the doctor would make him feel better.

Saturday morning, I left my dad to go to Hull University Open day with a friend. I told my mum that if she needed me to come home, I would straight away. At approximately half past one, I received a text from my uncle telling me I needed to come home immediately. No one told me anything, I had no idea what to expect or how ill my dad had become. I arrived at the Royal Hospital in Chesterfield at four pm to a side room in HDU full of familiar faces. I asked them what had happened but no one would tell me. A few minutes later one of the nurses from the Post Anaesthetic Care Unit came and fetched me to take me through to my mum who was in the theatre reception area. She told me that dad was very poorly and he had a flesh eating bug called Necrotising Fasciitis and had, had major debridement surgery to the top of his leg and was now on a life support machine. At this point, I had no idea what Necrotising Fasciitis was, or how much the surgeons had taken away from his leg. Mum wanted me to go and see him and I just froze and burst into tears. I could not face seeing him laid there, I did not want to believe it. The doctors told us that the next twenty four hours were critical and we spent the night at his bed side – I never let go off his hand once.

Unbeknown to me, by the time my dad had reached hospital he was already in multiple organ failure, had septicaemia and was deteriorating very rapidly.

Over the next nine days, my dad remained on the life support machine and by Wednesday he had developed ventilator assisted pneumonia and he was put on a dialysis machine to help cleanse his blood of the deadly toxins. There were so many times when the doctors thought he would not make it but I never once gave up hope, I knew he would make it; he had too.

After spending day in day out at the hospital, studying his monitors and wondering whether today would be the day they would wake him up, on Monday 20th July at 6:30 am the anaesthetists turned off the sedation and began the process of waking him up. Mum and I were at his bedside for 7am and hoped and prayed that he would open his eyes and recognise us. During the next few hours, he slowly began to resemble the dad we all knew and loved even if he lost a massive amount of weight and looked ten years older. He looked extremely weak and frail but we were so relieved he had made it through such a bleak beginning yet part of us knew that our journey had only just begun. That evening he was transferred to the high Dependency Unit where he remained until he was moved onto a general ward. Two weeks later he was transferred to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield for extensive plastic surgery on his leg.

My mum contacted Doreen after researching Necrotising Fasciitis on the internet and came across the Lee Spark Foundation and she was very grateful for the support she received. I personally made a conscious decision that I wanted to help raise awareness and funds for this deserving charity as it will always be close to my heart.

It’s now six months after my dad contracted NF, it lives with us every day. However we are coming to terms with what’s happened and if anything it has made me a stronger person and as a family, we know that we are extremely lucky that my dad has survived.

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