A mother who went into hospital to give birth woke up from an induced coma five days later – to find both of her legs amputated.
Ella Clarke, 31, woke up in her hospital bed prepared to savour a moment she had waiting nine months to cherish.
But instead of holding her baby girl, Winter Rose, doctors delivered news that would turn her world upside down.
Surgeons had been forced to amputate both of Ella‘s legs due to complications and an alleged NHS blunder.
The mother-of-eight, who was having her sixth c-section, had just spent five days in an induced coma after losing six litres of blood due to a dangerous complication called placenta accreta – which can be common with women who have had c-sections in the past.
Doctors performed an emergency hysterectomy and five blood transfusions – which in almost all cases of placenta accreta is required to save the mother’s life.
Ella, from Torquay, was placed into an induced coma and transferred to intensive care where doctors had to monitor her hourly for the next 24 hours as she was prone to clotting.
But it is claimed doctors forgot to check her and six hours had passed before she was seen.
By this point, Ella‘s legs had clotted and circulation had stopped. She was immediately rushed into theatre where two surgeons battled to recover circulation in both her legs – but it was too late.
Ella has now spoken of the traumatic, life-changing incident in December 2015.
She said: “Going into hospital to have a baby should have been the best moment of my life.
“I had no idea what was going on. I was put to sleep for the c-section and then put immediately into an induced coma when things started to go wrong.
“I remember the moment I woke up. I thought I was waking up from my C-section. I expected my beautiful little baby girl to be passed to me. I had no idea I’d been in a coma
“Instead I was told doctors had amputated my legs after complications with my C-section.
“But the reality of the situation soon started to hit home when Winter Rose was placed in my arms and my restricted future flashed before me.”
Ella and her partner Ian Ross, 32, now face a challenging future – and the full-time mother will be bound to a wheelchair.
She said: “I’m now sleeping downstairs in the living room and trying to get used to walking with prosthetic legs, but it’s challenging.
“I’m having counselling to cope with the shock but my whole life has changed forever.
“I went from being an active mum to instantly wheelchair bound. I couldn’t stop crying.
“My five year old couldn’t look at me without a blanket on because she was scared and my eldest daughter starting falling behind at school.
“My family was falling apart and I was helpless.”
Solicitors are now acting on Ella‘s behalf to launch legal action against the NHS trust, which has apologised.
She said: “I was an active mum doing the school runs and chasing my family around the garden.
“Now I’m the complete opposite.
“I might never be able to run after my children, or stand next to them. No human being should ever have to experience this after it could have so easily been avoided.
“I finally got my apology, but it was five months too late. I have eight children to look after, what life can I have now?
“This has impacted us far worse than you can ever imagine.”
A spokesman for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust said: “We would like to offer our sympathy to Ms C. We are carrying out a full and thorough investigation and at this time it is not appropriate for us to make further comment.
“We are in regular discussion with Ms C and her partner to ensure they are kept up to date.”