A British man has told the horrific story of going to hospital thinking he had just had a ‘cold’ – only to end up paralyzed and losing his leg, with doctors giving him a 10% chance of survival.
“I was in absolute pieces, thinking, ‘Am I going to walk again? Am I going to be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life? What will my life be like?’ Joe Ford, 31, told Kennedy News about his ordeal that lasted nearly eight months.
The south-east London resident’s harrowing survival saga innocently began in 2019 after he started feeling “a bit tired” and “groggy”.
However, Ford – who coaches a children’s soccer team – said it didn’t seem ‘too out of the norm’, explaining: ‘I just thought I was working too much or had a cold.’
The Londoner didn’t think about it until one day he woke up sick with stomach pains. When the symptoms did not resolve, he checked himself into Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup, Kent, where he apparently passed out on the floor.
“[I] told the lady at reception my symptoms, but I collapsed,” he recalled.
It turns out that Ford was in shock from sepsis – a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body tries to fight off infection and ends up attacking and damaging its own tissues. To date, doctors don’t know what caused the illness, as they couldn’t find any cuts on his body that could have become infected and triggered the immune reaction, Kennedy reported.
The 29-year-old was placed in a medically induced coma and filled with antibiotics to combat the sepsis that was ravaging his major organs.
Despite the best efforts of the medical staff, the prognosis was not good.
“The doctors told my parents I had a 10% chance of surviving and they should start planning my funeral because they really didn’t think I was going to make it,” Ford said.
In total, the patient spent almost a month in a coma: 2 and a half weeks at Princess Royal University Hospital in Farnborough, Kent, then another week in intensive care at King’s College Hospital in Lambeth, London.
When Ford finally woke up, he was completely paralyzed and unable to speak due to being in a coma for so long. Doctors should have made an incision in his neck and inserted a tube so he could breathe.
“The next thing I remember is waking up in a hospital bed with loads of people around me, telling me to stay calm,” said Ford, who reportedly never found the floor until three weeks later. “I was in and out of consciousness.”
Along with his paralysis, the football fan’s tissues had begun to darken and die due to sepsis.
“I was black and blue, my face was swollen and every part of my body – my nose, my fingers, my toes and the bottom of both my feet – they all turned black and necrotic,” said the distraught Briton. .
After a week, Ford’s right foot still hadn’t improved, so in June doctors performed “an operation to remove all the dead skin to see what was left and if there was anything they could do,” said he declared.
“When I woke up [from surgery]a nurse was bandaging my foot and I asked her to take a picture of it – it was quite shocking and horrifying to see,” the patient said.
The resulting photo shows where doctors removed all the necrotic flesh from the sole of his foot.
Sadly, the operation revealed Ford’s appendix was ‘unrecoverable’ and his lower right leg was amputated the following month.
“They said they could take a skin graft from another part of my body and put it on my foot, but it wouldn’t be a foot you could walk on and I would still have skin problems” , did he declare. “It would basically be a dead limb and I wouldn’t have any quality of life with it. They gave me that option or the option to amputate.
Ford was reportedly ‘devastated’ after losing the limb, saying: ‘My passion in life is coaching kids, coaching football – and that was my main concern, thinking, ‘Do I can I do that again?’ “
Things started to look up after the operation when the children’s football coach was transferred to Lambeth Community Care Center in September 2019. There he was fitted with a prosthetic leg and learned to walk again .
“With being in a coma for 3 1/2 weeks, it’s amazing how quickly your body and your nerves start to die,” Ford said. “I had to rebuild my body very slowly.
“Slowly they teach you and you get stronger every day and have a chance to get back to a normal routine,” he added.
Ford left the one-month rehabilitation center in early October 2019 – after just two months – exceeding expectations. He continues to undergo physical therapy and receives hand massages several times a month to strengthen his limbs.
Despite his progress, Ford thinks he only has 75% of the functions in his hands so far. “It’s been a long road and there’s still a long way to go, but I’m getting there,” he said.
Unfortunately, the person with sepsis received another blow after learning that his father and fellow football coach Martin Ford had cancer. He passed away a few months later in May 2020. However, the devoted son managed to carry on his father’s legacy by merging his own football coaching company – JMF Allstars – with another business.
Ford ultimately hopes his sepsis saga can help shed light on this insidious condition.
“I had no idea what sepsis was,” lamented the football coach. “I don’t think a lot of people know that; it’s not really talked about much, but it’s a deadly, silent killer.
Data from 2017 linked sepsis to around 11 million deaths worldwide, or about 20% of annual deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
In another shocking story of sepsis last month, a British woman’s hand looked like a shark puppet after doctors sewed up the appendage inside her stomach to fight off the infection.
New York Post