A TROWBRIDGE woman who had her left leg amputated after developing sepsis has told how her leg "just exploded" while waiting for treatment in Bath's Royal United Hospital.

Helen Way was diagnosed with the life-threatening condition around a month after breaking her left leg in a fall on November 10, 2019.

She underwent surgery at the RUH to have a metal plate inserted and was discharged after 10 days with a leg brace.

Helen, 49, then attended a follow-up appointment a week later at the RUH fracture clinic, where she asked whether she had popped a stitch as there was a small hole in her wound.

Helen, a local business owner, said: “After I was sent home from hospital after my initial surgery my condition started to get worse. I started experiencing more pain and swelling and started being sick.

“I felt something wasn’t right but I kept attending appointments and asking questions but it seemed that nobody was too concerned.”

In early December, a GP prescribed painkillers after Helen complained of vomiting, high fever and swelling in her leg. She couldn’t wear her leg brace because of the pain.

On December 13 Helen attended a second fracture clinic appointment where she raised concerns and a blood test was taken.

As Helen arrived home, the hospital called and asked her to return. Shortly after arriving by ambulance, she was taken for emergency surgery.

“When I was told to go back to hospital it came as real shock,” Miss Way said. “I hadn’t been there long when my leg just exploded. A significant amount of pus started leaking out of my wound from where I’d had the metal plate fitted.

“After that it seemed to be operation after operation and each time more of where my leg had been infected was removed.

“After a few months it got to the point where there was not much leg or knee left and it was suggested I undergo an amputation.

“Before I broke my leg I was very independent and enjoyed a happy and active life. I loved travelling, walking and gardening but I struggle to do any of those now because of my condition.

“My house needed to be adapted straight away so I could remain living there and now I’m a lot more reliant my partner, Andy, for support.

“Life is completely different to what it used to be and there has been some difficult times accepting what has happened.

“However, I know nothing can change what I’ve been through, so I’m determined not to be defined by my disability and live as a full a life as I can.”

“It’s important that others in a similar situation don’t feel they have to go through it alone. There is a lot of support out there.”

Following her ordeal, Helen instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care.

She has joined her legal team in supporting Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month in April which aims to highlight how people can rebuild their independence.

Elise Burvill, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Helen, said: “We sadly see many people who have had their world turned upside down by sepsis and who struggle to cope with the impact it has on their everyday life.

“Despite the terrible ordeal Helen and her family have been through, she continues to show bravery and courage as she comes to terms with everything.

“While nothing can make up for what’s happened to Helen, 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 supported by a number of charities including LimbPower, Limbless Association and Blesma.