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Elias’s story

Elias had a pain in his groin and noticed a swelling before being referred to hospital by his doctor. Here's his story.
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It was the busiest weekend of my life – I was being filmed by the BBC on the Saturday. On the Sunday I was at the reopening of my local park where I had been chairing its restoration. On both days I had a slight pain in my groin area – it was hot and I didn’t think nothing of it as it wasn’t that painful. That evening Sunday 22nd May 2011 I got home and noticed I had got a swelling which was growing at an alarming rate. I rang a friend who advised me to ring the out of hours surgery. The Doctor came round to my house and I was told to get to A&E as soon as possible. I remembering asking if I could just have some antibiotics but he was firm that I needed to get to hospital as soon as I possibly can. In retrospect if I had not obeyed his instructions I would have been dead by now.

When I got to A & E I was diagnosed with NF – apparently the Hospital I was at (Wexham Park Hospital in Slough) were familiar with the disease. This is all I can remember until I woke up in the intensive care unit surrounded by all sorts of machinery. I later found out that I almost died in ITU. I was kept in the unit for 8 days and was monitored night and day and was put on large amounts of morphine and had my own little button to press when I felt the pain. I was also on a strong course of antibiotics. The worse experience in the ITU was having to drink liquid potassium ! at least in the Unit you could get somewhat decent food when I finally was able – this was not the case once I was admitted to a ward!.

During the time I cannot remember I had an op which got rid of the dead skin and infection as best it could and I was fitted with a VAC and a catheter. I had to have 2 further ops to get rid of more infected tissue.

After about 5 days I was visited by the Physio team who made me get out of bed – I couldn’t even stand not alone walk and the first couple of times they had to use a hoist to get me to a standing position – my head was a swirling mess and I felt terribly giddy. On day eight I transferred to a ward and physios continued to demand not only that I be hoisted but to walk with a zimmer frame. Slowly but surely I did it.

The wound dressing was changed every other day and since I had a great pain pressure I was given entinox (gas and air) so the pain was not so painful but it made me as high as a kite and the nurses thought it amusing. This was the routine for next five weeks and slowly but surely the sluff around the wound started get less and eventually the Vac was removed and I was ready for skin grafts. The graft was taken from my opposite leg and was wrapped in many bandages and was told it could not be touched for a couple of weeks. I eventually came off the antibiotics and started to feel a lot brighter in myself.

During week six I was allowed home and I still couldn’t walk very well without the aid of a zimmer frame and I had carers come in 3 times a week and a district nurse every day. Within 3 weeks I was walking and all the carers had gone all I had was the district nurse who came to do my dressing every day. At this time I also decided to come off the morphine – that was a nightmare – though I decreased the dose over a few days I had sweats, twitching muscles and problems urinating – all side effects of going ‘cold turkey’

It’s now 6 weeks after leaving hospital and the nurse declared the wound and closed and there was only a small area to heal – so hopefully I can now start to get my life back to normal.

Elias Kupfermann

Due to the sometimes, unpleasant nature of Necrotising Fasciitis, we have given you the choice as to whether you would like to see the personal pictures that Elias has kindly shared with us. Please be warned, they are very graphic. View Elias’ pictures.

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